Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump’s presidency is “actually worse” than she’d thought it would get in 2016, accusing the president of only seeking to enrich himself rather than make investments in the country’s future.
Clinton spoke at length Sunday with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria about the Trump presidency and the “right-wing echo chamber” she says supports his vindictive political narratives and re-election campaign. The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate expressed dire concern about Trump’s coronavirus “hoax” claims, which she said outlets such as Fox News and Breitbart are promoting because they, and Trump, only care about getting him re-elected. Clinton ridiculed Trump’s handling of the growing economy he inherited from President Barack Obama, and cited the current president’s failure to make “any investments in the future” in favor of payouts for his Republican cronies.
Clinton said the Trump administration’s attempts to contain the coronavirus are exposing his lack of investment in infrastructure.
“The economy he inherited was on the right track and it was important that it remain on the right track,” Clinton said in the CNN interview. “I’m worried that we’ve seen some unfortunate detours, for example, with the trade embargoes and the trade wars he’s engaged in. And the failure to make any investments for the future. The big tax cuts have not produced the kind of big investments that are going to make us richer and safer and stronger.
“We were talking about the virus, there’s a lot we could be doing to invest in infrastructure here and around the world to protect us against the spread of disease, with climate change, a lot of disease is going to to spread further and further north out of tropical climes and are going to be posing threats to us,” Clinton continued.
“We’re not thinking about the future, it’s all transactional and what’s in it for the president and his allies, his cronies and his re-election.”
The wide-ranging interview went on to include Clinton’s belief that Democrats are not able to launch nasty personal attacks in the same way as Trump, noting the president has “perfected the art of the smear.” She said Republicans reverting to shallow personal attacks is “just part of the landscape” among members of that party.
Clinton said Facebook has “aided and abetted” right-wing news outlets to work in tandem with the Trump administration and the social media platform’s powerful algorithms. She said Fox News and Breitbart are “feeding” coronavirus misinformation and Trump’s attacks against his critics directly to his base voters. She described it as “very diabolical and very destructive” to democracy.
“I’ll tell you what I make of it, is that Fox and the sort of right-wing echo chamber has mastered Facebook, added and abetted, I might say by Facebook,” Clinton said Sunday. “The coronavirus is spreading, we now have more and more reports from different places in the country, but led by Fox News and Breitbart and others, it’s going to be about my e-mails … they know how to deliver those stories through the algorithms into the feeds of millions and millions of people.”
Clinton joked she lives “rent free” in the heads of Trump’s surrogates.
She continued, “So I begrudgingly give them a lot of credit because they are shaping a narrative that is part of the messaging around Trump’s re-election, around people who challenge Trump, changing the subject all of the time…they’re not interested or even worried about Trump saying the coronavirus is a hoax.”
Newsweek reached out to the White House Sunday for comment.