Hillary Clinton speaks during a rally in Raleigh, N.C. Photo / AP
Hillary Clinton and her high-powered campaign stand-ins are talking
about trust everywhere they speak these days, and for good reason.
yesterday’s news shows, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and Labor Secretary
Tom Perez explicitly talked about Clinton and trust. And the candidate
herself acknowledged that she has “work to do” to earn the trust of
voters in her likely general election matchup against Republican Donald
Trump, who suffers from a public trust deficit of a different sort,
stemming from political inexperience and an impulsive style.
week, President Barack Obama will personalise the “I trust Hillary”
theme during his first appearance with his former Secretary of State in
battleground North Carolina. And Vice-President Joe Biden will reinforce
the message on Saturday in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, with
Clinton at his side.
It’s all evidence of a remarkable vulnerability that persists
both despite and because of Clinton’s decades of public life. But the
timing of the trust campaign is no accident.
Clinton, the former President, met last Tuesday with the FBI’s boss,
Attorney General Loretta Lynch, on the tarmac in Phoenix in a session
both say was innocent but regrettable. The FBI interviewed Clinton for
more than three hours on Sunday about whether she exposed government
secrets by blending personal and official business on a home email
Clinton immediately taped a television interview in which
she denied wrongdoing and repeated an acknowledgment she had slipped
into a speech last week on the same day Senator Elizabeth Warren vouched
Clinton said she will do “everything I can to earn the
trust of the voters of our country”, remarks aired yesterday on NBC’s
Meet the Press.
“I know that’s something that I’m going to keep working on, and I think that’s, you know, a clear priority for me.”
After Warren had endorsed her, Clinton acknowledged she’d “made mistakes. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t”.
she defended her sometimes too-cautious style. “The reason I sometimes
sound careful with my words is not that I’m hiding something. It’s just
that I’m careful with my words,” she said at the Rainbow PUSH
Coalition’s event in Chicago.
Questions about Clinton’s ethics
have dogged her from her days as first lady of Arkansas and later the
United States during Bill Clinton’s governorship and presidency, through
her service as a senator from New York, her failed 2008 presidential
campaign and as Obama’s Secretary of State. So pervasive has the image
been that her opponents have only to utter buzzwords such as
“Whitewater” – the name of the Clintons’ failed land deal in which
neither was implicated in wrongdoing – to invoke the image of what Trump
terms “Crooked Hillary”.
Former President Bill Clint speaks in Portland, Ore. Photo / AP
Not helping make the case for trust: the Bill
Clinton-Loretta Lynch meeting. “I learned about it in the news,” Clinton
said in the NBC interview taped hours after the FBI session on Sunday.
“They did not discuss the Department of Justice’s review.”
Was the visit inappropriate, she was asked? “Well, I think, you know, hindsight is 20/20,” she replied.
Clinton’s supporters leapt in with defences of her overall character.
trust Hillary Clinton in part because for a whole lot of reasons,”
Brown, a potential vice presidential pick, said on ABC’s This Week.”I
know how she started her career advocating for the Children’s Defence
Fund. She didn’t go off to Manhattan or to Washington to make a lot of
Perez repeated Clinton’s own reasoning that in the
quarter century since her husband was first elected President, some
accusations against her have stuck, rightly or wrongly.
Hillary Clinton that I’ve gotten to know well and the Hillary Clinton
that the voters of New York got to kick the tyres on very well, they
have always said and consistently said that we trust her,” Perez,
another vice presidential possibility, said yesterday on NBC’s Meet the
He urged voters to look at the public service work Clinton
has done during her career. “That really gives me, and I think the
American people, a window into her moral compass. And her moral compass
is about helping those who are in the shadows.”
Representative Xavier Becerra, a third potential vice presidential pick:
“The Secretary has made it very clear she understands she’s got to earn
people’s trust. She’s going to work very, very hard to do that. And I
give her credit for saying she’s made some mistakes,” he said on Fox
“She’s going to try to show the American people that she’s
going to work hard, especially for working families in America to earn