We don’t agree with Donald Trump on much, but he is right about this: Hillary Clinton is ducking the press.
And it’s not right. Anyone wishing to occupy the Oval Office needs to fully engage in the rough-and-tumble marathon that is the U.S. presidential campaign.
Yes, televised debates are important, but they also are often predictable and tightly controlled. There is nothing like a freewheeling news conference attended by dozens of seasoned and knowledgeable newspaper and television reporters to test the mettle of a candidate. Their job is to ask the tough questions that voters want answered.
Some of those questions arise from Clinton’s service as secretary of state. They want to know more about her use of a private email server and how it came to be that she granted meetings to major donors to the Clinton Foundation. Clinton says that no favors were done for donors while she was secretary of state, but emails indicate her staff communicated often with the foundation.
In addition, Politico reports that the Clinton Foundation was subsidized by taxpayers – specifically government funding enabled by the Former Presidents Act, which was passed in 1958 so that ex-presidents would be financially comfortable after leaving the White House. This money went to Bill Clinton’s aides who, conveniently enough, also worked for the foundation.
As is the case so often with the Clintons, this sleight of hand appears to be legal even while it fails the smell test.
Hillary Clinton’s obvious strategy to win the presidency is to hold serve, wall herself off from the press and let Trump self-destruct.
Polls, though tightening of late, suggest that Clinton’s plan could work. Regardless of the outcome, the moat that Clinton has dug insults voters. How long has it been since she participated in a genuine news conference?
The Washington Post, which has a widget keeping count, says 272 days. The place at which this now historic event transpired was Fort Dodge, Iowa, on Dec. 5, 2015.
Clinton’s version of reality, of course, is markedly different. She talks to the media all the time, campaign aides and surrogates say. We agree, she talks. To “Morning Joe” and to late-night comedians. And she’ll answer a question or two from a local reporter while crisscrossing America. None of those situations is anything like holding a news conference, where the reporters can dig more deeply into serious matters.
In truth, Clinton is acting more like royalty than a presidential candidate. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote in her Aug. 27 column, “When reporters approached Clinton after her Reno speech, she ignored the questions being served up and told the press to have some of the chocolate being served up. ‘Love the truffles,’ she said in a condescending let-them-eat-chocolate moment.”
The United States is not a monarchy. If you are wondering, Trump has held 17 news conferences this year, according to NBC News.