Monday 20 November 2017

Those hailing Hillary's nomination as beginning of a Democrat fightback against Trump are simply wrong

Nominee Hillary Clinton
Nominee Hillary Clinton

Tim Stanley

Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee. Barack Obama has endorsed her.

He even said that he could imagine no one more qualified for the presidency - not Washington, Adams, Monroe, Jefferson. No, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the most qualified nominee in history. So sayeth Obama.

The polls, however, suggest the American public has yet to warm to her. Why? ABC might have the answer. Their latest scoop is a little Byzantine but I want you to read it. It explains why Ms Clinton isn't 20 points ahead of Mr Trump.

In 2011, when Ms Clinton was secretary of state, a Chicago securities trader called Rajiv Fernando was given a spot on the International Security Advisory Board - a committee of scientists, politicians and experts who advise the secretary of state on nuclear weapons and other security matters.

According to ABC, no one else on this prestigious and sensitive board "could figure out who Fernando was or why he was there".

Mr Fernando was a long-time fan of the Clintons. He was a financial supporter of Ms Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign and a generous donor to the Clinton Foundation.

ABC News decided to investigate how this generous man got his position. It found getting answers from the US state department very difficult. Mr Fernando suddenly resigned. What was going on?

It's only now, thanks to a freedom of information request that we have a clearer idea. Newly released emails show that when ABC began its inquiries, the state department acted quickly to "protect the name" of Ms Clinton and to "stall" ABC's investigation - before accepting Mr Fernando's resignation.

And how did Fernando's name get added to a list of potential board members in the first place? Simple: Cheryl Mills, Ms Clinton's then counsel and chief of staff, insisted that it be put there. In an email exchange, a member of staff wrote: "The true answer is simply that [Clinton's] staff (Cheryl Mills) added him… Raj was not on the list sent to [Clinton]; he was added at their insistence."

And what's Fernando's current relationship with the Clintons? He's one of Hillary's super delegates.

Throughout their careers, the Clintons have been accused of being too comfortable with the attentions of the rich and powerful - of even trading money for access.

When Bernie Sanders complains loudly about Mrs Clinton's speeches to Wall Street execs, one of which earned her $225,000, he is articulating the feeling of many on the Left that the nominee is tainted by a lust for money. Likewise, one of the reasons why Mr Trump garners some support is because people believe his personal fortune puts him above influence peddling.

Mr Trump calls Ms Clinton "Crooked Hillary". He might be a bigot, he's sort of saying, but he is his own bigot. No one can buy him.

Some are hailing Ms Clinton's nomination as a breakthrough for feminism and the beginning of the fightback against Mr Trump. They're wrong.

She might turn out to be the weakest candidate the Democrats could field against The Donald. He'll have a fun summer playing with her. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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