Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton acquiesced to her first television interview since announcing her run for president, telling CNN this evening that the American people should trust her because she trusts them.
Clinton insisted she has no problem with the large crowds challenger Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is drawing on the campaign trail as she continues small, carefully crafted sit-downs with voters in early primary states.
“I always thought this would be a competitive race. So I am happy to have a chance to get out and run my campaign as I see fit and let other candidates do exactly the same,” Clinton said. “…I think I’ve learned a lot from listening to people in Iowa. And it’s actually affected what I say and what I talk about on the campaign trail. So I couldn’t be happier about my campaign.”
Pressed on whether she would raise taxes as Sanders has vowed to do, she replied, “I’m going to be telling the American people what I propose and how I think it will work and then we’ll let voters make up their minds.”
Clinton was then asked if she understands why nearly six in 10 voters, in a recent CNN poll, say they don’t trust her.
“Well, I think when you are subjected to the kind of constant barrage of attacks that are largely fomented by and coming from the right and… I can only tell you that I was elected twice in New York against the same kind of onslaught. I was confirmed and served as secretary of State. And I think it’s understandable that when questions are raised people maybe are thinking about them and wondering about them,” she said. “But I have every confidence that during the course of this campaign people are going to know who will fight for them, who will be there when they need them and that’s the kind of person I am. And that’s what I will do, not only in a campaign but as president.”
“This has been a theme that has been used against me and my husband for many, many years. And at the end of the day, I think voters sort it all out. I have great confidence. I trust the American voter. So I trust the American voter 100 percent because I think, you know, the American voter will weigh these kinds of accusations,” Clinton continued.
“I mean, people write books filled with unsubstantiated attacks against us. And even admit they have no evidence. But of course, it’s your job to cover it. So of course that’s going to raise questions in people’s minds. But during the course of this campaign, just as in my two prior campaigns and in my other years of service, I have a lot of confidence that the American people can sort it all out…People should and do trust me. And I have every confidence that that will be the outcome of this election.”
Clinton got testy when asked about her use of personal email at the State Department, asserting “maybe it was because I am not the most technically capable person and wanted to make it as easy as possible.”
“I didn’t have to turn over anything. I chose to turn over 55,000 pages because I wanted to go above and beyond what was expected of me because I knew the vast majority of everything that was official already was in the State Department system,” she said. “And now I think it’s kind of fun. People get a real-time behind- the-scenes look at, you know, what I was emailing about and what I was communicating about.”
“…This is being blown up with no basis in law or in fact. That’s fine. I get it. This is being, in effect, used by the Republicans in the Congress, OK.”
On questionable foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation: “I have no plans to say or do anything about the Clinton Foundation other than to say how proud I am of it and that I think for the good of the world, its work should continue.”
Clinton said she was “very disappointed” in Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants, and used them to take a swipe at the GOP field as a whole even though many other candidates have publicly disagreed with the billionaire developer turned presidential candidate.
“I feel very bad and very disappointed with him and with the Republican Party for not responding immediately and saying, ‘enough, stop it,'” she said. “But they are all in the — you know, in the same general area on immigration. They don’t want to provide a path to citizenship. They range across a spectrum of being either grudgingly welcome or hostile toward immigrants. And I’m going to talk about comprehensive immigration reform. I’m going to talk about all of the good, law- abiding, productive members of the immigrant community that I personally know, that I’ve met over the course of my life, that I would like to see have a path to citizenship.”
On the case of a Bay Area woman shot and killed by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco who had been deported five times and sought haven in the sanctuary city, Clinton said “the city made a mistake not to deport someone that the federal government strongly felt should be deported.”
“So I have absolutely no support for a city that ignores the strong evidence that should be acted on,” she said. “However, there are — like if it were a first-time traffic citation, if it were something minor, a misdemeanor, that’s entirely different.”
With Sanders inching up in the polls, Clinton insisted “nothing’s really changed” that prompted her to finally sit down with a reporter.
“I just have a different rhythm to my campaign. I’m not running my campaign for the press. I’m running it for voters,” she said. “I totally respect the press and what the press has to do. But I wanted and was determined to have the time that I needed to actually meet and listen to people.”