Four days ago, amid the negative press trailing her use of personal e-mail servers to conduct official business, presumptive Democratic nominee for president of the United States, Hilary Clinton, took the battle – and the attention – to her Republican counterpart Donald Trump.
In what is surely a sign of what to expect – increased mudslinging and personal attacks thrown at each other by both candidates – Clinton attacked Trump’s business record in Atlantic City, New Jersey, using the backdrop of one of Trump’s former casinos to criticize his business practices.
“Donald Trump says he’s qualified to be President because of his business record. Three weeks ago, he said, and I quote, ‘I’m going to do for the country what I did for my business.’”
But Clinton believes Trump’s business record is nothing to brag about. “In fact, it’s shameful. And every single voter in America needs to know about it – so we don’t let him do to our country what he did to his businesses,” the former Secretary of State said.
According to Clinton, Trump’s businesses in Atlantic City did not only perform poorly, they hurt the economy of the city as a whole.
“He intentionally ran up huge amounts of debt on his companies – hundreds of millions of dollars. He borrowed at high interest rates – even after promising regulators that he wouldn’t. What came next? He defaulted on those loans. Didn’t pay them back. And at the end, he bankrupted his companies – not once, not twice, but four times,” the former American first lady informed her audience.
“And here’s an important thing about how Donald Trump operates. He doesn’t default and go bankrupt as a last resort. He does it over and over again on purpose – even though he knows he will leave others empty-handed while he keeps the plane, the helicopter, the penthouse… He makes over-the-top promises, and says if people trust him, put their faith in him – he’ll deliver for them. He’ll make them wildly successful. Then everything falls apart, people get hurt and Donald gets paid,” the former first lady asserted.
It was a robust response to Trump who, barely two weeks before last Wednesday’s attacks, delivered an address in New York promising Americans to replicating his “success in business” on a national level.
“I have built an amazing business that I love and I get to work side-by-side with my children every day… We think big, and then we make it happen. I love what I do, and I am grateful beyond words to the nation that has allowed me to do it. So when people ask me why I am running, I quickly answer: I am running to give back to this country which has been so good to me,” the billionaire businessman explained.
Of course he also threw barbs at Hilary Clinton. “When I see the crumbling roads and bridges, or the dilapidated airports, or the factories moving overseas to Mexico, or to other countries, I know these problems can all be fixed, but not by Hillary Clinton – only by me. We can’t solve any of these problems by relying on the politicians who created them,” said Trump. Then he went all out at his opponent, describing her as a world class liar. He gave examples:
“Just look at her pathetic email and server statements, or her phony landing in Bosnia where she said she was under attack but the attack turned out to be young girls handing her flowers, a total self-serving lie.
“Here is my promise to the American voter: If I am elected President, I will end the special interest monopoly in Washington, DC. The other candidate in this race has spent her entire life making money for special interests – and taking money from special interests.
“Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit and theft. She ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund – doing favors for oppressive regimes, and many others, in exchange for cash. Then, when she left, she made $21.6 million giving speeches to Wall Street banks and other special interests – in less than two years – secret speeches that she does not want to reveal to the public,” said the media mogul.
Trump’s attacks are not limited to Hilary however. He has her husband, Former President Bill Clinton, in his crosshairs.
“Together, she (Hilary) and Bill made $153 million giving speeches to lobbyists, CEOs, and foreign governments in the years since 2001. They totally own her, and that will never change. The choice in this election is a choice between taking our government back from the special interests, or surrendering our last scrap of independence to their total and complete control.”
Trump continued, “I have visited the cities and towns across America and seen the devastation caused by the trade policies of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton supported Bill Clinton’s disastrous NAFTA, just like she supported China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization.
“We’ve lost nearly one-third of our manufacturing jobs since these two Hillary-backed agreements were signed. Our trade deficit with China soared 40% during Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State — a disgraceful performance for which she should not be congratulated, but rather scorned.
“Then she let China steal hundreds of billions of dollars in our intellectual property – a crime which is continuing to this day. Hillary Clinton gave China millions of our best jobs, and effectively let China completely rebuild itself. In return, Hillary Clinton got rich!”
To be fair, the above statements by both candidates are issue-based, and probably some of the most civil you’ll hear from them. There have been worse personal attacks thrown at each other so far this year and it is expected to degenerate as the election draws closer. The attacks might just get more personal. After all, these two seem to know each other so well.
It Wasn’t Always Like This
A few weeks ago, as it became clearer Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton would be representing their respective parties in the contest for president, pictures showing the Trumps and Clintons laughing together went viral on the internet.
Hillary Clinton was one of the 450 guests (she had a front row seat to boot) at the exclusive wedding ceremony of Donald Trump and Melania Knauss, his third (and current) wife in Palm Beach, Florida. At the reception that followed, Bill Clinton joined his wife, the former first lady who was then serving Trump’s home state of New York in the Senate.
Trump now says Clinton had “no choice” but to attend his wedding because he donated money to her campaign. But his record of praising both Clintons is voluminous, and seems to go far beyond an attempt to further his business interests. He seemed to genuinely like them. And the feeling – on the face of it – was mutual.
There are many instances where both camps (Trump and the Clintons) have said nice things about each other in the past. Because they were friends. Trump has over the years defended his pal, Bill Clinton.
There was the September 1999 interview with the New York Times in which Trump remarked that Clinton would have gone down in history as a great president if not for the Lewinsky scandal. Clinton, Trump believed, would have found a more forgiving public if he’d had an affair with a really beautiful woman of sophistication.
“Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe were on a different level. Now Clinton can’t get into golf clubs in Westchester. A former president begging to get in a golf club. It’s unthinkable,” he said. Trump later boasted that he welcomed the former president to a newly built Trump National Golf Club, a five-minute drive from the Clinton’s New York home. Meanwhile, Clinton has admitted the billionaire was “uncommonly nice to Hillary and me.” Clinton still maintains a locker at Trump’s golf club.
“I like him. And I love playing golf with him,” Clinton said in a May 2012 interview with CNN.
The complements weren’t just between the two men. Trump had nice words for Hillary too. In October 2013 Larry King asked Trump if he thought the former secretary of state would run for the White House a second time, pointing out that she is a “fellow New Yorker.”
“Yeah, and I know her very well. They’re members of my club, and I like both of them very much, and he was with you one time and he said he likes me,” Trump said, adding, “and I do like him.” A year before, Trump told Fox News that Clinton had done a great job as secretary of state.
“Hillary Clinton I think is a terrific woman,” he said. “I am biased because I have known her for years. I live in New York. She lives in New York. I really like her and her husband both a lot. I think she really works hard. And I think, again, she’s given an agenda, it is not all of her, but I think she really works hard and I think she does a good job. I like her.”
Well, they seem not to like each other so much anymore.
Singing a New Tune
Now, Donald Trump has switched from defending Bill Clinton’s past transgression to using the same instances in attacks against “Crooked Hillary,” whom he has called an “unbelievably, nasty, mean enabler” of her husband’s affairs.
Trump now classifies Bill Clinton as a victimizer. “Hillary’s married to a man who was the worst abuser of women in the history of politics. She’s married to a man who hurt many women,” Trump said at a May 7 rally in Washington. “She’s married to a man who got impeached for lying.”
Back to his New York speech two weeks ago, he said, “No Secretary of State has been more wrong, more often, and in more places than Hillary Clinton. Her decisions spread death, destruction and terrorism everywhere she touched. Among the victims is our late Ambassador, Chris Stevens. He was left helpless to die as Hillary Clinton soundly slept in her bed — that’s right, when the phone rang at 3 o’clock in the morning, she was sleeping.
“Ambassador Stevens and his staff in Libya made hundreds of requests for security. Hillary Clinton’s State Department refused them all. She started the war that put him in Libya, denied him the security he asked for, then left him there to die. To cover her tracks, Hillary lied about a video being the cause of his death,” Trump claimed.
Trump has also accused Hillary Clinton of corruption, citing instances from the book Clinton Cash. “Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency,” he said.
“To cover-up her corrupt dealings, Hillary Clinton illegally stashed her State Department emails on a private server. Her server was easily hacked by foreign governments – perhaps even by her financial backers in Communist China – putting all of America in danger.
“Then there are the 33,000 emails she deleted. While we may not know what is in those deleted emails, our enemies probably do. So they probably now have a blackmail file over someone who wants to be President of the United States.
“This fact alone disqualifies her from the Presidency. We can’t hand over our government to someone whose deepest, darkest secrets may be in the hands of our enemies,” Trump said.
Recently, Donald Trump was asked to account for his change in tone. He explained that it was his “obligation” to get along with everyone as a businessman.
“I got along with everybody. I got along with the Clintons, I got along with the Republicans, the Democrats, the liberals, the conservatives. That was my obligation. As a businessman, I had to get along with everybody, and I’ll get along and do that as president,” he continued, remarking, “when I needed approvals, when I needed something from Washington, I always got what I wanted, and that’s because I was able to get along with everybody.”
So don’t be surprised Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton will get along sometime in the future. They might end up as chummy friends again. Remember, Obama and Hilary went at each other during the Democratic nomination race in 2008. Look at them now.
The politician in Clinton might probably see her contest with Trump through the prism of ‘No permanent friends, only permanent interests.’ The businessman in Trump probably sees it as fair game. Nothing personal, just business.