During her eight years in office, Clinton took more than 200 private flights, for a total cost of $225,756. While members of Congress are permitted to charter their own private flights, the practice has become fair game for criticism in recent election cycles, especially as many lawmakers opt to fly commercially between Washington and their home states instead. A Clinton spokesman defended her travel decisions and called the private flights “a cornerstone” of the then-senator’s ability to reach constituents in the far-flung reaches of the state.
Clinton’s travel has been at the center of her messaging strategy since she left Foggy Bottom in 2013, and Republicans may want to keep it that way. While her supporters herald her record-breaking air mileage as secretary of state as one of her crowning achievements, scrutiny over Clinton’s tendency for chartered flights and her exorbitant travel demands has created a growing perception that she’s out of touch.
And Clinton has only furthered that perception through a series of verbal blunders. Renewed interest in Clinton’s lavish lifestyle ramped up last summer during the book tour for her latest memoir, Hard Choices. In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Clinton recalled that she and Bill Clinton were “dead broke” and struggling to afford multiple mortgages and their daughter’s Stanford education when they left the White House in 2001.