Dozens of notable Republicans have said that they will not vote for Donald Trump, including at least six Republican senators, two Republican governors, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee and a group of 50 former national security officials who served Republican presidents from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush, among others.
So where are the #NeverHillary Democrats?
Hillary Clinton has lied to the American people so frequently that multiple polls now show that almost 7 in 10 of our fellow citizens say she is not honest or trustworthy, while only 11 percent say she is, according to an NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll. Fifty-six percent believe Clinton should have been charged with a crime in the FBI investigation of her use of a private email server. And 60 percent say Clinton believes she does not have to play by the same rules as everyone else.
They are right. The FBI director found Clinton to have been “extremely careless” and the “definition of negligent” in handling classified information. We recently learned that the FBI recovered some 14,900 emails she did not turn over, after assuring Americans “I turned over everything I was obligated to turn over.” We now know the Clinton Foundation sought favors for foreign donors — like a meeting for the crown prince of Bahrain (he’s a “good friend of ours,” a longtime Bill Clinton aide said) after he had trouble securing one through official channels. The Associated Press has reported, after an analysis of meetings from about two years of her State Department calendars, that more than half of the people outside the government whom Clinton met with while she was secretary of state gave money to the Clinton Foundation — a collective $156 million in donations.
Every day, more evidence emerges that Clinton is morally unfit to occupy the Oval Office. But so far, no leading Democrats have come out and said they will not vote for her.
Democrats are clearly worried about the optics of the Clinton scandals. That is why the Clinton Foundation announced it will no longer accept donations from corporations or foreign entities if Hillary Clinton is elected president. But where are the senior Democrats asking why it is wrong to take such donations if she becomes president, but it wasn’t wrong to take millions from corporate and foreign donors when she was secretary of state? Where are the Democrats asking why the Clinton Foundation should continue to rack up such donations right up until Election Day? You won’t find them.
Politico reports that Democrats are “dismayed by the timing of the three-day [Clinton Global Initiative] conference Sept. 19-21 — a week before the first national debate and seven weeks before Election Day.” Note that they are not dismayed because amassing donations from foreign and corporate donors a few weeks before the election is morally wrong — only that it will give the GOP ammunition “just days before Hillary Clinton defends herself against pay-to-play accusations from Donald Trump in their first debate.”
For Democrats, the Clinton Foundation is a PR problem, not an ethics problem.
Indeed, it’s hard to find any senior Democrats who are even publicly conflicted about her. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., famously took weeks after Trump secured the GOP nomination before finally agreeing to support him, telling reporters “I’m not there yet.” Has any leading Democrat of Ryan’s stature said “I’m not there yet” when it comes to supporting Clinton?
The hypocrisy is particularly rank, because Democrats have made taking on the Wall Street special interests and the pay-to-play culture in Washington a centerpiece of their political agenda. Now they have a kleptocratic nominee who epitomizes everything they claim to oppose — and they seem to be completely fine with it.
Where is the Democrats’ outrage over the deal then-Secretary Clinton cut with the Swiss bank UBS, which let tens of thousands of tax-dodging Americans off the hook, while the Clinton Foundation got a cumulative $600,000 in UBS donations and Bill Clinton got $1.5 million for Q&A sessions?
In June, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said, “Do I have a problem when a sitting secretary of state and a foundation run by her husband collects many, many dollars from foreign governments — governments which are dictatorships? Yeah, I do have a problem with that.” Apparently not that big of a problem.
Or take Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who tweeted that “Government should be accountable to the people, not Wall Street lobbyists, deep-pocketed donors” on the very same day she endorsed Clinton for president. Talk about a lack of moral courage.
The Clinton saga has exposed the Democrats as completely mercenary. So when you hear Democrats talk about how billionaires and special interests have “rigged the system,” remember that they supported a nominee whose foundation took billions from those special interests. When you hear Democrats talk about gay rights and women’s rights, remember that they supported a nominee whose foundation took tens of millions from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and other countries that openly persecute gays and deny equality to women.
As Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., has said of Trump, “I can’t support someone that I don’t think would take the oath of office in good faith.” Will even one Democrat stand up and say the same of Clinton?
Don’t hold your breath.
Thiessen writes a weekly column for The Washington Post. He is the former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush.