When the Clinton Foundation’s CEO admitted Wednesday that there was “no question” donors received “courtesy appointments” during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of State, Donald Trump’s campaign immediately blasted Clinton for her “corrupt” dealings.
CEO Donna Shalala made an appearance on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” to discuss the Republican presidential nominee’s allegations of “pay-to-play” corruption between Clinton and her family’s foundation. But when she admitted “there is no question there were phone calls made to get appointments for people,” the Trump campaign pounced.
“This is emblematic of the corrupt pay-to-play culture Hillary Clinton and those in her orbit bring to the table, where it so pervasive it is actually uncontroversial to those involved.”
“It speaks volumes that the Clinton Foundation’s CEO would casually admit on national television that its donors received access and ‘courtesy appointments’ at Hillary Clinton’s State Department,” Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communications adviser, said in a statement. “This is emblematic of the corrupt pay-to-play culture Hillary Clinton and those in her orbit bring to the table, where it so pervasive it is actually uncontroversial to those involved.”
The Democratic presidential nominee came under fire and intense scrutiny after a release of over 700 emails tied to Clinton’s private email server back in August revealed that top foundation donors gained special access to Clinton and State Department functions.
“This is why a special prosecutor needs to be appointed to independently investigate the growing evidence of corruption between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department while Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary of state,” Miller continued in his statement.
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Mitchell asked Shalala during the interview, “True or false?” after playing a clip of Trump saying, “It’s called pay for play. Over and over and over people who donated to the Clinton Foundation or gave money to Bill Clinton got favorable treatment from Hillary Clinton’s State Department.”
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In response, Shalala said, “First of all there is no question there were phone calls made to get appointments for people, but Mohammad Yunus, a Nobel laureate. Melinda Gates? These are people any secretary of state would have seen, courtesy appointments.”
When Mitchell asked about business people gaining special access to Clinton and the State Department, Shalala responded, “There were also business people. No question.”
“I don’t see evidence that there was policy decisions made as a result of that other than courtesy appointments. And people in public life are used to doing that kind of — making courtesy appointments for people,” Shalala continued. “I certainly did it as secretary [of Health and Human Services] with requests from Republicans in Congress so I don’t find it unusual. We have to be careful that it’s not linked to policy decisions as opposed to simply seeing prominent people that ask for appointments.”
The exact nature of the “courtesy appointments” and the special access foundation donors received remains murky.