With the mainstream media focused on Donald Trump’s political antics, they have mostly ignored the question of whether Hillary Clinton is ethically fit to be president.
Not only is Clinton a documented liar, but she could make history as the first major-party candidate to face a federal criminal prosecution. Even without a prosecution, the damage that has been done to her public image may be beyond repair.
Whitewater. Travelgate. Chinagate. Monica Lewinsky. Gennifer Flowers. The Clinton Foundation. Benghazi. These are just a few of the scandals that have made the Clinton name synonymous with deceit and duplicity. But it is her use of a private email server and email account that have permanently branded Hillary Clinton as a liar.
The scandal is simple to understand. It raises questions about her motives behind setting up a private server and judgment as secretary of state. Since she held her first press conference almost a year ago to address the matter, the scandal has dogged the Clinton campaign. From lying about why she created a homebrew server to the classified information that was found on it, Clinton has lied to the American people and played them for fools.
But unlike her husband, President Bill Clinton, whose charisma and likability have helped him dodge past scandals, Clinton’s off-putting personality has allowed this scandal to stick. Authenticity has long been a problem for Clinton. During a 2008 ABC debate, her likability was called into question by a moderator.
Then-Sen. Barack Obama responded by quipping that Clinton was “likeable enough.” Focus groups this election cycle have proven that that label has stuck. A Bloomberg focus group of voters found her to be “off-putting” and “bitchy.”
Hillary and her defenders are doing their best to dismiss the scandal. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz recently said, “This election is not about Hillary Clinton’s emails.” But that argument falls flat when one in five voters believe you are either dishonest or a liar.
The gut reaction of many Americans is not to trust Clinton, and that was made clear in exit polling from New Hampshire. Among the 34 percent of New Hampshire Democratic voters who listed honesty as the most important trait in a candidate, 92 percent voted for Sanders, and just 6 percent for Clinton.
Voters distrust Clinton with good reason. She has repeatedly looked them in the eye and told baldfaced lies. But it is the callousness and ease with which she lies that should be more troubling. Despite the murders of four Americans at the hands of terrorists while serving as secretary of state, Clinton claimed we “didn’t lose a single person” in Libya under her watch. She has even had the gall to call one of the victims’ mothers a liar, even though we know it was Clinton who lied about the cause of the Benghazi terrorist attack.
The damage from the email scandal will follow her until Election Day. News like the Justice Department’s recent granting of immunity to her former State Department staffer, and reports that FBI Director James Comey is increasingly convinced that Clinton broke the law, will continue to haunt her like the memory of our four dead Americans in Libya. At a time of increased national-security threats, Americans should not have to worry about the honesty and integrity of their president. When voters head to the polls this November, they should take pause and consider not just the candidates’ policy platforms and experience but also whether they are ethically fit to be president of the United States.