News & Politics

Donald Trump May Have Bombed at the Al Smith Dinner, But Haitians Got the Joke

The annual Al Smith roast-style fundraiser for Catholic charities held Thursday night in Manhattan sure had some awkward moments. The liberal elites attending the event didn’t have a problem with Hillary Clinton’s uninspired jabs at Trump, but boy-oh-boy, they did not appreciate Trump’s jabs at Clinton. At all.

No happy warriors to be found at Al Smith dinner, fretted CNN.

How Donald Trump Broke the Al Smith Dinner, moaned The Atlantic.

At Al Smith Dinner, Donald Trump Turns Friendly Roast Into 3-Alarm Fire, chided NPR.

Donald Trump ‘crossed a line,’ made Al Smith dinner ‘uncomfortable,’ namesake’s great-great-grandson says, scolded NY Daily News.

Maybe it’s because poor Hillary brought a butter knife to a flame-thrower fight. The Donald started off gently, telling several funny, self-deprecating jokes. He then clumsily pivoted to the scorched-earth part of his speech, unexpectedly dropping nuke after nuke on Hillary, including mentions of several embarrassing WikiLeaks revelations, the fact that she was kicked off the Watergate Committee for being “so corrupt,” and the Clinton Foundation’s corrupt dealings in Haiti. None of the “jokes” were the least bit funny, and they weren’t meant to be. The crowd booed and heckled Trump and he smiled back with satisfaction. The Donald had just used their swanky venue to rudely burst through the media embargo on all those inconvenient stories.

trump-smiling

“Everyone knows, of course,  Hillary believes that it takes a village,” Trump said at one point. “Which only makes sense. After all, in places like Haiti she’s taken a number of them.” #SadTrombone #Cringe

The average American wouldn’t know what the bombastic billionaire was going on about, because the Clintons’ corruption in Haiti has been all but ignored by the mainstream media—even as Haitians in the United States have tried so hard to shine a light on the issue.

Last week, an eyewitness to the Clinton Foundation’s corrupt dealings in Haiti went on Family Talk Radio and Fox News to warn the public. Former Haitian Senate President Bernard Sansaricq said virtually nothing has been done to help the victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and that the Clintons are nothing but common thieves who should be in jail. That’s a sentiment that seems to be shared by many Haitians. Last summer, National Review published an excerpt from conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza’s book, Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Partywhich includes a chapter on Haiti. As D’Souza notes, the Haitian community has repeatedly protested the Clintons in New York—while most of the nation looked the other way.

January 2015 a group of Haitians surrounded the New York offices of the Clinton Foundation. They chanted slogans, accusing Bill and Hillary Clinton of having robbed them of “billions of dollars.” Two months later, the Haitians were at it again, accusing the Clintons of duplicity, malfeasance, and theft.

And in May 2015, they were back, this time outside New York’s Cipriani, where Bill Clinton received an award and collected a $500,000 check for his foundation. “Clinton, where’s the money?” the Haitian signs read. “In whose pockets?” Said Dhoud Andre of the Commission Against Dictatorship, “We are telling the world of the crimes that Bill and Hillary Clinton are responsible for in Haiti.”

Haitians like Andre may sound a bit strident, but he and the protesters had good reason to be disgruntled. They had suffered a heavy blow from Mother Nature, and now it appeared that they were being battered again — this time by the Clintons. Their story goes back to 2010, when a massive 7.0 earthquake devastated the island, killing more than 200,000 people, leveling 100,000 homes, and leaving 1.5 million people destitute. The devastating effect of the earthquake on a very poor nation provoked worldwide concern and inspired an outpouring of aid money intended to rebuild Haiti.

Countries around the world, as well as private and philanthropic groups such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, provided some $10.5 billion in aid, with $3.9 billion of it coming from the United States. Haitians such as Andre, however, noticed that very little of this aid money actually got to poor people in Haiti. Some projects championed by the Clintons, such as the building of industrial parks and posh hotels, cost a great deal of money and offered scarce benefits to the truly needy.

Port-au-Prince was supposed to be rebuilt; it was never rebuilt. Projects aimed at creating jobs proved to be bitter disappointments. Haitian unemployment remained high, largely undented by the funds that were supposed to pour into the country. Famine and illness continued to devastate the island nation. The Haitians were initially sympathetic to the Clintons. One may say they believed in the message of “hope and change.” With his customary overstatement, Bill told the media, “Wouldn’t it be great if they become the first wireless nation in the world? They could, I’m telling you, they really could.”

I don’t blame the Haitians for falling for it; Bill is one of the world’s greatest story-tellers. He has fooled people far more sophisticated than the poor Haitians. Over time, however, the Haitians wised up. Whatever their initial expectations, many saw that much of the aid money seems never to have reached its destination; rather, it disappeared along the way. Where did it go? It did not escape the attention of the Haitians that Bill Clinton was the designated UN representative for aid to Haiti.

Following the earthquake, Bill Clinton had with media fanfare established the Haiti Reconstruction Fund. Meanwhile, his wife Hillary was the United States secretary of state. She was in charge of U.S. aid allocated to Haiti. Together the Clintons were the two most powerful people who controlled the flow of funds to Haiti from around the world. Haitian deals appeared to be a quid pro quo for filling the coffers of the Clintons. The Haitian protesters noticed an interesting pattern involving the Clintons and the designation of how aid funds were used. They observed that a number of companies that received contracts in Haiti happened to be entities that made large donations to the Clinton Foundation. The Haitian contracts appeared less tailored to the needs of Haiti than to the needs of the companies that were performing the services. In sum, Haitian deals appeared to be a quid pro quo for filling the coffers of the Clintons.

Read the rest here.