Bill Clinton was asked if it’s appropriate for his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, to stay on at the Clinton Foundation while her mother is President of the United States. His response? “We all know people.”
As is typical with a Bill Clinton response, a full parsing is in order.
First, watch the clip from CNBC provided by the GOP War Room:
And the transcript as provided by CNBC:
BECKY QUICK: Because, obviously, people would look at you as a conduit to getting through to –
BILL CLINTON: Yeah. The stuff that they’ve said so far is just bull, but if she was actually the president, it would raise too many questions. I think it’s fair.
QUICK: You are stepping down from the foundation, but Chelsea is not at this point. She seems to me to be a conduit who would essentially get through to Hillary Clinton too.
CLINTON: We all know people. But when they made that conduit argument the State Department said there’s nothing to it. The career people at the State Department. I think it’s quite different if you have the — if the Foundation is operating in America taking no corporate contributions, only individual contributions, and disclosing them every three months, as we do now and confining ourselves basically to health and education and service work.
OK. So let’s start breaking this down.
Becky Quick asks specifically about charges that when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State he was seen as an inappropriate “conduit” between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. Clinton responds, “The stuff that they’ve said so far is just bull, but if she was actually the president, it would raise too many questions. I think it’s fair.”
In other words… there wasn’t a problem when she was Sec. of State, all those questions and concerns were “bull,” but if she becomes POTUS, then those questions and concerns are “fair.”
Really? Everything is fine when the Secretary of State is married to a former President who is raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate and foreign donations at a private foundation, but the second she moves a couple rungs up her career path and ends up on Pennsylvania Avenue then we have a problem?
Is this a reflection of how ineffectual and non-influential Hillary Clinton was when she ran our nation’s diplomatic efforts at Foggy Bottom? Or is this Clinton conveniently making things up as he goes along?
The answer is revealed in the next exchange.
Quick challenges his premise by pointing out that Hillary’s daughter, Chelsea, is staying on at the foundation when Mrs. Clinton presumambly ascends to the throne. How is she not a legitimate concern as a “conduit” to the Oval Office in the same way Bill would be? You know, the criticism and concern he just characterized as “fair.”
This is when Clinton’s “We all know people” gut response was delivered. He then went on to argue, again, that the questions raised in the past had been “bull” and things would be different now because the foundation would be only involved in health issues, or something.
It’s all obfuscating nonsense.
Here’s Clinton’s argument in a nutshell: When I ran the Clinton Foundation and Hillary was Secretary of State any concern over me being a conduit to her operations were “bull.” However, those same concerns are “fair” if and when she becomes President. That being said, those same, “fair” concerns about me being a conduit from foundation donors to Hillary as President are a non-issue with regard to our daughter being in the exact same position because, you know, “we all know people.”
There. Everybody feel better now?