On ABC News, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) tried to attack Donald Trump during his interview with Martha Raddatz, but Raddatz wouldn’t let the issue of trust just fade away. As Cortney wrote, it seemed as if the senator was a bit off balance, saying that Clinton has been a “good public official,” while trying to bash Trump on policy, which wasn’t going to be effective after news that former President Bill Clinton had a meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in Phoenix. The issue of trust, which has always lingered with the Clinton camp, is now back in the spotlight with new fervor—and everyone was piling on.
On NBC’s Meet The Press, Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell, Kasie Hunt, and Katy Tur all took turns ripping Clinton, this egregious unforced error with Bill meeting Lynch, and how this is all paying right into Donald Trump’s hands.
When speaking about the tarmac meeting, Mitchell said:
It was such an unforced error. Inexplicably, Bill Clinton, the schmoozer in chief, we all know ‘oh, there’s a motorcade– well, let me go over.’ But something should have told this former constitutional law professor from Arkansas not to do it. Something should’ve told Loretta Lynch to say Mr. President let’s go down, I know it was 108 degrees, on the tarmac they could’ve walked into the terminal–any place in public. To be on that plane for 30 minutes now, no matter what happens if she is exonerated she will still be—there will still be suspicions. Not only among the Donald Trump people, but among a lot of other people, there will be suspicions that it was politically influenced. This is absolutely a disastrous decision on their part.
Katy Tur added:
“And it plays directly into the narrative that the Donald Trump campaign is trying to put forth, that Hillary Clinton is not to be trusted. That there are one set of rules for her, for the Clintons, for politicians in general, and another set of rules for everybody else. The Lynch meeting did that. This meeting with the FBI could potentially do that if it results in no charges being brought. And the Trump campaign is seeing this as an opportunity, not matter what happens, to use it against her, as saying she’s just not trustworthy.
To that point, about separate rules, MSNBC’s political correspondent Kasie Hunt made the point that the Clintons have a history of acknowledging that they made some decisions that they regret, which makes them look strange. The email server is a perfect example of showing that they think they play by different rules. Clinton said that she would’ve made a different decision knowing what has transpired (because she got caught), which provides a lot of ammunition for the Trump campaign. Tur is heard in the crosstalk saying, “It’s death by a thousand cuts.”
Earlier this week, Clinton said that she knows she will have to earn the voters’ trust. That’s dead. There’s no way to fix that now after Slick Willy’s rendezvous with Lynch. Todd added that NBC Democratic pollster Peter Hart also pointed out another issue Clinton needs to fix: likability. Maybe boosting those numbers might help curb the abysmal honesty and trustworthiness.
Mitchell said the Clinton camp is doing that with ads showing Clinton’s work with children, which will supposedly cast her as an engaging, motherly grandma. The problem is that Clinton lived in government housing between 1983-2001. Given that she is the spouse of the ex-president, she received Secret Service protection after Clinton left office. She has never driven herself since 1996. She and Bill have accrued hundreds of million of dollars in book deals and speaking fees. In fact, one speech made by either Bill or Hillary (certainly combined) is more money than most Americans make in their lifetime. Is there really any level of connection that can come from a person who is paid $300,000 (or more) for making a speech? I don’t think so.
And again, it will all come back to the issue of trust and honesty that’s linked to her use of a private email server that is now being combed through by the FBI during their criminal investigation as to whether she mishandled classified information. As The Washington Post’s Dan Balz noted, up to this point, the investigation looked as if there was no interference until Bill’s meeting with Lynch mucked up the waters. Hillary’s clean break from this investigation is dashed—and Bill is to blame. At the same time, while Bill’s decision was awful, Hillary’s choice of using a private email server, which wasn’t approved by the State Department, is ground zero for most of her headaches. Her team disastrously miscalculated the staying power of this story, which could’ve been avoided if she didn’t think she lived by a separate set of rules. Even Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said that this email fiasco created an “unnecessary vulnerability” for Clinton.
Mitchell touched on reports that Hillary had planned on riding on Air Force One with Obama on their trip to North Carolina this week. I don’t think that’s going to happen now.