News & Politics

Hillary Gets an Earful from Laid Off Coal Worker in West Virginia

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton talks with Bo Copley and his wife Lauren, while holding a photograph of their children, (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

At a CNN forum in March, Hillary Clinton laid out her plans to destroy the coal industry. “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” she remarked at the time. In this, she was as good as her word.

A couple of weeks ago, the largest coal company in the country filed for bankruptcy. Mines in Wyoming have drastically cut back production while the US Energy Information Administration says that coal production is down 30% from the same period last year.

Murray Energy, a major coal producer from Illinois to West Virginia has laid off more than 2,000 workers since the beginning of the year.

Not all of the downturn can be blamed on the EPA. Although the agency’s carbon emission regulations have yet to become law due to court challenges, most coal consumers have seen the writing on the wall and are switching to natural gas. With natural gas cheap and plentiful due to fracking, coal miners are slowly going the way of wheelwrights and blacksmiths.

Allowing market forces to determine winners and losers is one thing. What Hillary and her pals at the EPA, along with their allies in the green movement, have done is set out to deliberately destroy an industry using the power of government to do it. It is unprecedented and in West Virginia yesterday, a lone, laid off coal worker, stood up to Clinton and asked “why”?

NBC News:

Hillary Clinton, in a rare candid moment on the trail, apologized to a man who confronted her over comments made earlier this year about putting coal miners “out of business.”

Bo Copley, a West Virginian who recently lost his job at a coal company, teared up as he told the former secretary of state that he didn’t know how to explain his situation or her comments to his young children. Seated beside his wife, Copley slid over a photo of his kids to Clinton, who was sitting a just few feet from him at the community round-table discussion.

He questioned how she could say what she said at a CNN forum in March —“We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business” — and then “come in here and tell us how you’re going to be our friend.”

He also told her he was representative of the angry crowd who had assembled outside hours before.

“Those people out there don’t see you as a friend,” he said, referring to the dozens of protesters within earshot.

Clinton then engaged in a very frank conversation about her comments, apologizing repeatedly and calling her prior remarks a “misstatement.”

“What I said was totally out of context from what I meant because I have been talking about helping coal country for a very long time,” she said. “What I was saying is that the way things are going now, we will continue to lose jobs. That’s what I meant to say.”

She later admitted that her comments on coal miners meant her chances in the upcoming West Virginia primary are “pretty difficult.”

Aides said they knew coming to the region could produce tough conversations like this one, but felt it was important to address this issue head-on. The confrontation came in the midst of a two-day bus swing through Appalachia, featuring mostly small events focused on the economy and jobs.

After the event, Copley told reporters he “would have liked to have heard more of what her plan is” for coal country.

When asked if she won him over, he said no.

She can’t even apologize honestly. Her statement was not taken out of context nor did she “misstate” her position. She meant what she said and she said what she meant. It’s not even a secret that the destruction of the coal industry is near the top of the green agenda and most Democrats get positively giddy when they discuss it.

For the coal miners, it really is quite simple. Vote Hillary for the total destruction of your industry. Or vote for the Republican who will try and save at least some of it. With choices that stark, the Republican candidate should clean up in appalachia.