Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee took a swipe at Hillary Clinton at Friday’s Wing Ding Dinner party fundraiser in Iowa — and some Dems walked out.
“I’ve been a mayor, governor, and senator, and seen some tough times and taken some courageous votes, and — but what I’m most proud of in all those decades of public service is I never had any scandals,” Chafee told the crowd.
Chafee was asked on MSNBC if the reports of some walking out of his speech were “dispiriting.”
“There were 1,800 people there. So a few were filtering in and out over the course of the night. But 1,800 Democratic activists there, it was a great night and most of them stayed. Some were coming in and out through the course of the evening,” he said.
In June, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz hit at Chafee for telling CNN that he “absolutely” harbors concerns about Clinton’s trustworthiness or conflicts of interest.
“Anytime you run for office, at local level or any level, trustworthiness is a main concern of the voters… and that perception of untrustworthiness, it’s something you cannot sweep away. It’s something very, very important, no matter what office you run for,” Chafee said.
“I think it’s the record just going back over decades of questionable ethical practices, and people bringing up Whitewater and all these things, the Rose Law Firm record,” he continued. “It just seems like it never stops. So, now, we are in the tenure of secretary of state and the e-mails and, of course, the Clinton Foundation donations at the same time the State Department is making critical conditions that are combined with those donations by the Clinton Foundation. It’s just too close and too many ethical questions.”
When asked if Chafee’s comments were “appropriate,” Wasserman Schultz later told CNN “our candidates should stick to the ideas that draw a contrast between our party and our party’s agenda and the Republicans.”
Chafee, a former Republican, told MSNBC that he’s “more old-fashioned” than the modern GOP that focuses on social issues — “take care of the books and let people live their lives as they see fit.”
Asked if Clinton is vulnerable, he replied: “Of course it’s a long way, we’re here in August, and the first votes are going to be cast in Iowa in early February, it’s a long, long time here in the heat of the summer, and just think in February. It’s a long way to go, and she’s certainly got a great record of public service, but different issues voting for the Iraq war is an issue, what’s happening with the Clinton Foundation and emails, and different issues. We’ll see what plays out over the coming months.”
Chafee said he’ll “put my $2 down” that Vice President Joe Biden jumps into the race.
“It’s just seeing him in the photos with President Obama, the high profile photos, whether it’s opening diplomatic relations with Cuba or the Supreme Court cases that came out favorable to the Affordable Care Act, some of those positive Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage,” the governor said. “It seems the vice president was always in the photo. So, it sounds like he’s interested in continuing on the national stage into the next election cycle. This is my two cents.”
“…I think if Vice President Biden gets in, there will be some oxygen taken out of the media cycle for a while, just as we see with Donald Trump.”