Defending Hillary


After securing the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump promised a “tell all” speech about Hillary Clinton. On June 22 he delivered a slanderous collage of all the Clinton lies and innuendos the rightwing has circulated over the last 24 years – imagine a speech written by Ann Coulter. Those of us who believe Clinton would be a better president should be forewarned: there’s more venom coming from Trump. Here’s how to defend Hillary.

“Hillary Clinton… is a world-class liar.” Consider the source. The award-winning fact-checking website, PolitiFact, rated Hillary the most truthful of all the 2016 candidates. By contrast, PolitiFact rated Donald Trump the least truthful with 75% of his statements “mostly false,” “false,” or “pants on fire.”

Trump’s June 22 speech contained at least 40 lies or gross distortions.

Those of us who defend Clinton should use Kevin Drum’s article “Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy” as our bible.

“Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.” Trump’s not-so-subtle tactic is to sway voters with the stance: “Clinton represents politics as usual; I am the outsider untainted by ties to special interests.”

Trump’s attack on Clinton had three parts: accusations about her life before her tenure as Secretary of State, during her tenure, and afterwards. Regarding her life before becoming Secretary of State, Trump asserted, “[Clinton] has spent her entire life making money for special interests – and taking money from special interests.” The New York Times labeled this assertion “mostly false”: “Early in her career, Mrs. Clinton worked for the Children’s Defense Fund and as a lawyer for the House impeachment inquiry against President Richard Nixon, and later worked at the private Rose Law Firm in Arkansas, focusing on intellectual property and other cases. Much of her career has been devoted to government service, as first lady, United States senator and secretary of state.”

With regards to Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State, Trump asserted, “She ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund – doing favors for oppressive regimes, and many others, in exchange for cash.” Trump based his claims on the debunked book Clinton Cash. In 2015, the book’s author admitted to NBC News “No, we don’t have direct evidence [of a quid-pro-quo].”

Trump repeated claims that Hillary was responsible for the Benghazi deaths. “Our late Ambassador, Chris Stevens … was left helpless to die as Hillary Clinton soundly slept in her bed.” Impartial observers have said that Hillary Clinton monitored the situation as soon as the Benghazi attacks were reported. Trump’s claims about Clinton and Benghazi have been discredited by multiple sources.

Finally, Trump said, “Hillary Clinton gave China millions of our best jobs and ... she let China steal hundreds of billions of dollars in our intellectual property.” This assertion is absurd and easily discredited; for example, PolitiFact reported that Chinese hacking occurred in 2015 after Clinton had left the State Department.

Regarding her life after resigning her post as Secretary of State, before she announced her presidential candidacy, Trump asserted, “Hillary Clinton took up to $25 million from Saudi Arabia … and millions from Kuwait, Qatar, Oman …” These funds went to the Clinton Foundation – to fight infectious diseases – not to Hillary directly.

Trump could not ignore the Clinton email scandal, noting “Her server was easily hacked by foreign governments… putting all of America in danger…. So [our enemies] probably have a blackmail file over someone who wants to be President of the United States.” This is false; there is no evidence the Clinton email was hacked.

Even if all of Trump’s claims about Hillary are false, is he a righteous outsider?

Hardly. In his June 22 speech, Trump introduced himself: “I started off in Brooklyn New York, not so long ago, with a small loan and built a business worth over 10 billion dollars.” The New York Times noted: “This [claim] substantially understates the financial assistance that Mr. Trump received from his father, Fred, a major real estate developer in New York City. The decades-old ‘loan’ was for $1 million, a handsome sum that is by no means ‘small.’ But the elder Mr. Trump did not stop there: He handed his son control of a large company with significant property holdings across the city, whose substantial value is difficult to quantify or overstate.”

Trump’s personal life and business practices have come under scrutiny multiple times, the latest being the Trump “University” lawsuit.

After Trump’s June 22 speech, Hillary Clinton quipped, “He’s going after me personally because he has no answers on the substance [of my proposals].” True. But the underlying reason seems to be that Trump is a pathological liar, unqualified and unworthy of being President of the United States.

Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer and retired Silicon Valley executive. He can be reached at

From The Progressive Populist, August 1, 2016

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