After going 272 days without holding a press conference and constantly dodging the press throughout the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton will allow select members of the media to travel on her campaign plane, an aide revealed Thursday.
“Beginning on Monday — with just 64 days left until the election — the Democratic presidential nominee will replace her small, private jet with a significantly larger aircraft that she will not only share with her campaign staff, but with Secret Service staffers and reporters too,” ABC reported, citing a campaign aide.
“Secretary Clinton … you have drawn down $16 million in taxpayer funds and spent a portion of it to subsidize staff salaries, furniture, and even the Clinton Foundation … will you refund taxpayers for these expenses?”
Reporters have heard this before, though. Prior to the Democratic National Convention in July, the Clinton campaign told pool coordinators they would soon be allowed on the campaign jet. Even now, some reporters express concern that this late-coming development may be more for show than to actually provide journalists access to Democratic presidential nominee.
While Clinton has participated in methodically planned one-on-one interviews, she has not risked a press conference for 272 days — an unprecedented stretch for a national major-party candidate. Donald Trump, by contrast, has held 17 press conferences.
Trump’s campaign has been tracking “Hiding Hillary” on its website and speculates that Clinton might be trying to avoid answering questions about her ongoing email and Clinton Foundation scandals — or new uncomfortable facts uncovered about the Clinton’s taxpayer-funded life.
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On Thursday, the Trump campaign noted that since leaving the White House in 2001 the Clintons have requested $16 million in taxpayer funds under the “Former President’s Act,” a federal government program that provides monetary support to former presidents.
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Bill Clinton used the taxpayer money “to subsidize his family’s foundation and an associated business, and to support his wife’s private email server,” Politico reported.
“Taxpayer cash was used to buy IT equipment — including servers — housed at the Clinton Foundation, and also to supplement the pay and benefits of several aides now at the center of the email and cash-for-access scandals dogging Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign … In several cases, GSA [General Services Administration] officials raised questions about whether requested furniture and IT equipment including servers were intended for the Clinton Foundation, rather than Clinton’s personal office.”
A Clinton aide argued that there “is no legal prohibition that would preclude the former president’s staff from receiving compensation from other sources or doing personal work for the former presidents,” according to Vanity Fair. However, the Trump campaign questioned whether it’s fair to taxpayers.
Jason Miller, the Trump campaign’s senior communications adviser, pressed Hillary Clinton on giving Americans their money back.
“Secretary Clinton, you and your husband have made hundreds of millions of dollars since he left the presidency, yet you have drawn down $16 million in taxpayer funds and spent a portion of it to subsidize staff salaries, furniture, and even the Clinton Foundation. Given your family’s wealth, will you refund taxpayers for these expenses?” Miller asked in a press release.
Remaining elusive, while often a clever and beneficial tactic, does not seem to be aiding Clinton, according to recent polls. Rather, as journalists and news publications across the political spectrum agree, she appears to have something to hide.