Hillary Clinton In First TV Interview: “People Should and Do Trust Me”
On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton sat down with CNN for her long-awaited first interview with the national press, and addressed several criticisms lobbed her way ever since she began her presidential campaign. But really, as Brianna Keilar pointed out, there is one major criticism looming over her: Can she be trusted by the American people?
Citing a CNN/ORC poll that found "nearly 6 in 10 Americans say they don’t believe that [Clinton is] honest and trustworthy," Keilar asked the former secretary of state why she should have their trust, given the numerous scandals surrounding her — specifically, the use of a private e-mail server during her time in the State Department, and the practices of the Clinton Foundation.
Labeling those questions as "the kind of constant barrage of attacks that are largely fomented by and coming from the right," Clinton said that she has withstood that kind of criticism during her time as First Lady and the senator from New York, and can certainly do so now. "I have every confidence that during the course of this campaign people are going to know who will fight for them, who will be there when they need them and that’s the kind of person I am," she told Keilar.
"Trusting someone to fight for them and trusting someone, these are two different things," Keilar responded. "Do you see any role that you've had in the sentiment that we've seen, where people are questioning whether you're trustworthy?"
"Well, they — people should and do trust me. And I have every confidence that that will be the outcome of this election. I cannot decide what the attacks on me will be, no matter how unfounded. And I’m well aware of the fact that it’s your job to raise those and we’ll do our best to respond to them. But I think what people talk to me about — and that’s all I can go on — is the literally thousands of people that I’ve seen in the course of this campaign. They want to know what I’m going to do for the economy, what I'm going to do for education, what I’m going to do for health care. And they trust me to have a plan and to be committed to carrying out that plan and they should, because I will."
Other highlights from the interview include her explanation of how 33,000 e-mails in her personal server disappeared and how the ones that did get released have "fun" details in them, like her desire for "warm socks":
"Everything I did was permitted by law and regulation. I had one device. When I mailed anybody in the government, it would go into the government system. Now, I didn't have to turn over anything. I chose to turn over 55,000 pages because I wanted to go above and beyond what was expected of me because I knew the vast majority of everything that was official already was in the State Department system. And now I think it’s kind of fun. People get a real-time, behind-the-scenes look at what I was e-mailing about and what I was communicating about."
She also demurred when asked whether she‘d shut down the Clinton Foundation if she became president, despite the potential for large-scale conflicts of interests, and instead gave an example of how it managed to treat 5.1 million people for H.I.V./AIDS. It was also a good opportunity to name-drop Bill Clinton:
"Now maybe it's because my husband knows so many people in the world and he's so creative and he’s so smart. But he was able to put together solutions to problems, whether it was H.I.V./AIDS or childhood obesity in our country or expanding farm productivity in Africa, that was hard for others to do. And, yes, did people say, That's good work, that's a charity we want to support — and they should have because it produced results."
When asked about immigration reform, Clinton had quite a bit to say about her fellow G.O.P. candidates, such as former Clinton Foundation donor Donald Trump ("I feel very bad [for] and very disappointed with him") and Jeb Bush: "Well, he doesn't believe in a path to citizenship. If he did at one time, he no longer does." And earlier, she welcomed Senator Bernie Sanders to the race like this:
"I am happy to have a chance to get out and run my campaign as I see fit and let other candidates do exactly the same."
In the obligatory human interest portions of the interview, Clinton said she doesn't have a favorite "Saturday Night Live" impersonator: "I think I'm the best Hillary Clinton, to be honest."