Supporters of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took a week’s worth of attack lines to the Sunday shows, arguing about the propriety of the Clinton Foundation and Trump’s appeals to African-American voters.
Defending Trump’s claim that Clinton is a "bigot," GOP chairman Reince Priebus argued that Clinton at the least has taken the black vote for granted.
"She’s the one that labeled African-American youth as ‘superpredators,’ " Priebus said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
That attack, which Trump had also made days earlier on Twitter, rates Mostly True. Clinton did use the term, but Priebus left out some context.
‘Superpredators’ in context
The "superpredators" line comes from a 1996 speech in which Clinton praised the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act signed into law by her husband Bill Clinton
Provisions of the act included a ban on some assault weapons, more funding for community policing and an expansion of the death penalty. The legislation was championed by Bill Clinton as a way to reduce the number of African-Americans being killed in drug-related incidents, but it has drawn criticism in recent years for sending disproportionate numbers of African-Americans to prison.
After praising the law’s support for community policing, Hillary Clinton said the law would beef up efforts to fight gangs.
"They are often connected to big drug cartels, they are not just gangs of kids anymore," Clinton said. "They are often the kinds of kids that are called superpredators — no conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first, we have to bring them to heel."
Clinton did not specifically label superpredators as African-American, but the context of her speech suggests it was a reasonable inference.
Those remarks followed Clinton into this year’s election, when activists with the Black Lives Matter movement confronted Clinton at a private fundraiser in February, telling her she owed black people an apology. A day later, Clinton released a statement expressing regret for her word choice.
"Looking back, I shouldn't have used those words, and I wouldn't use them today," she said.
Trump donates to Clinton Foundation
Trump has also been attacking Clinton for conflicts of interest surrounding her family’s foundation. But Democrats have counterattacked by pointing out that Trump himself donated to the nonprofit he now calls a pay-to-play operation.
Addressing the topic on Meet the Press, Barack Obama’s former campaign manager David Plouffe noted the Clinton Foundation’s work on HIV/AIDS and malaria and Trump’s own ties to the charity.
"The Clinton Foundation, I think it’s a universal agreement, has done remarkable work around the world. I think Donald Trump himself contributed $100,000 to the foundation," he said.
Plouffe is right that Trump gave at least $100,000 to the foundation, a fact that Trump and his campaign readily admit. One caveat: It appears that money likely came through Trump’s own foundation, not directly from Trump. The claim rates Mostly True.
The Clinton Foundation lists Donald J. Trump as a contributor with a cumulative lifetime donation amount between $100,001 to $250,000. Tax forms show that the Donald J. Trump Foundation (which Trump controls) donated $100,000 to the foundation in 2009 and reserved a table at a 2010 Clinton Foundation gala for $10,000.
Trump’s gift places him in the top 0.2 percent of the foundation’s donors. Most of its 300,000 donors (85.5 percent) gave less than $250.
Breaking it down by dollar amount, however, Trump’s total contribution isn’t that big. We estimated that the foundation received at least $800 million in donations, with over 70 percent of which came from gifts of $1 million or more.
Trump doesn’t deny that he donated to the Clinton Foundation. During the first GOP primary debate in August 2015, Trump voluntarily mentioned it.
"When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me," Trump said. "With Hillary Clinton, I said be at my wedding, and she came to my wedding. You know why? She didn’t have a choice, because I gave. I gave to a foundation that, frankly, that foundation is supposed to do good. I didn’t know her money would be used on private jets going all over the world."
For the record, the Clintons did attend Trump’s third wedding to Melania Knauss, but that occurred in 2005, four years before the $100,000 donation.
A few months, Trump gave similar answers asked to explain his charitable giving record.
"I did give to the Clinton Foundation. What I didn't know is they'd be using it for private aircraft and things like that. The Clinton Foundation was helping with Haiti and with lots of other things and I thought it was going to do some good work. So, it didn't make any difference to me," he said on Jan. 31’s Fox News Sunday. "Again, I was a businessman and it was my obligation to get along with everybody, including the Clintons, including Democrats and liberals and Republicans and conservatives."
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