Politics

She’s Back! Aide Hints Hillary’s Spoiling for a Rematch with Trump

Losses in 2008 and 2016 appear not to have cooled Clinton's fiery ambition to be America's first woman president

Image Credit: Olivier Douliery - Pool/Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

One of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s closest longtime political aides is dropping hints that the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee may be spoiling for a rematch with Donald Trump.

“It’s curious why Hillary Clinton’s name isn’t in the mix — either conversationally or in formal polling — as a 2020 candidate. She’s younger than Donald Trump by a year. She’s younger than Joe Biden by four years,” said Philippe Reines, according to The Daily Wire.

“Is it that she’s run before? This would be Bernie Sanders’ second time, and Biden’s third time. Is it lack of support? She had 65 million people vote for her. There’s no one in the Democratic Party who has anywhere near a base of 32 million people. That’s multiples of what a Sanders or a Warren have,” he continued.

Reines added that “chalking the loss up to her being a failed candidate is an oversimplification. She is smarter than most, tougher than most, she could raise money easier than most, and it was an absolute fight to the death.”

This is not just another former aide. Reines became Clinton’s press secretary in 2002 while she was a senator from New York and, from that point on, has been in her inner circle of most trusted and influential advisers.

Related: Advisers Actually Tell Hillary She Could Be 2020 Nominee, Provided This Doesn’t Happen

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He was a key strategist of Clinton’s failed 2008 presidential campaign, and then went to the Department of State when President Barack Obama appointed her secretary of state. Reines was deputy assistant secretary of state for strategic communications when Clinton left the administration in 2013.

Reines was the stand-in for Donald Trump during Clinton’s debate preparation in the 2016 race, a role for which he was well-suited, as he is known among journalists covering his boss as being an often prickly person with whom to deal.

Three huge obstacles stand in the way of a possible third Hillary Clinton campaign for the White House.

1.) The email scandal. She used a private “homebrew” email server and addresses to conduct official U.S. government diplomatic business, an action that former FBI Director James Comey described in his infamous July 2016 statement as “extremely careless.”

Comey opted not to recommend charges against Clinton, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary, but that was far from the end of the scandal. To this day, Clinton remains vulnerable as litigation proceeds, doggedly pressed by the nonprofit government watchdog Judicial Watch, concerning 33,000 allegedly personal emails she failed to turn over to the government.

There are also an undetermined number of emails — though the total could easily be thousands — found on a laptop owned by Clinton’s former aide, Huma Abedin, wife of the disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.).

Related: Hillary Says Bill Clinton’s White House Affair Was Not an ‘Abuse of Power’

Abedin remains Clinton’s closest aide, so those Weiner emails or messages among the 33,000 could easily contain damaging information about …

2) The Clinton Foundation and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and key figures in that ruling elite have contributed more than $25 million. With the apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, and growing tensions rooted in the former Washington Post columnist’s brutal demise, it’s not a good time for the foundation’s access to the immense riches of the Saudi royal family to be under the intense scrutiny that would accompany another presidential campaign.

And it’s not just the Clintons benefitting from Saudi largesse. The Clinton Foundation has a seemingly endless list of scandals involving governments around the world, a list too long to enumerate here.

This reality makes it no surprise that even a New York Times editorialist says Clinton is politically “radioactive.” If there is a third Clinton run, though, the Clinton Foundation will provide a target-rich environment for an opponent with deadly aim, like …

3.) Donald Trump. It is doubtful that any previous American president has been more hated by the opposition party he defeated on his journey to the White House than Trump by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.

But no matter the intensity of their hatred, odds are Clinton and the Democrats will face a Trump boasting of an enviable record of success in his first term. The economy is booming and shows no signs of cooling anytime soon, unemployment is at record lows, job creation is on a tear, and economic confidence is soaring.

Moreover, Trump has succeeded in negotiating a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, and also with South Korea, and it’s not beyond imagining that he will also by 2020 have done so with China. Combined with an unexpectedly deft hand in foreign policy, Trump’s record may well have given new and positive meaning to the term “America First.”

Most important, the current ascending path of Trump’s public approval numbers may herald an approaching public realization that while, yes, he’s combative, crude, and given to picking unnecessary fights, the bottom line on this president is that he delivers what he promises and says what he truly believes — characteristics that could make him all but unbeatable in 2020.

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