Clinton under fire for 9/11 comment

November 15, 2015

Hillary Clinton speaks to her supporters after the 2016 U.S. Democratic presidential candidates debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, United States, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

WASHINGTON — Opponents on the left and right quickly pounced on Hillary Clinton for citing her work rebuilding New York after the September 11 attacks as the reason she has received so much campaign cash from Wall Street.

Clinton has faced strong criticism from both of her Democratic rivals for her ties to the financial industry. But rarely has it provided fodder for Republicans, who are generally the party more closely aligned with banks and hedge fund managers.

That all changed when Clinton, the former U.S. senator from New York, tried to offer a new explanation for her ties with Wall Street during Saturday’s Democratic debate.

“I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked,” Clinton said. “Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan, where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy, and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.”
 
Later in the debate, Clinton was asked to clarify her remarks, with the moderators pointing to a real-time tweet that expressed dismay over her answer.
 
“I worked closely with New Yorkers after 9/11 for my entire first term to rebuild,” Clinton said. “So yes, I did know people who made donations from all kinds of backgrounds who said, ‘I don’t agree with you on everything, but I like what you do, I like how you stand up, I’m going to support you.’”
 
Before Clinton was asked to explain, Twitter exploded with criticism for the remarks, including from journalists who were quick to say that the remarks would be used against her and some calling them “craven.”
 Democratic rival Martin O’Malley’s campaign jumped first.
“Deeply, deeply offensive to families–including mine–that were forever changed by that tragedy,” O’Malley deputy campaign manager Lis Smith wrote on Twitter. “My dad worked in [World Trade Center] from the day it was built to the day it went down. @HillaryClinton, never invoke 9/11 to justify your Wall St positions.”
 Republicans also criticized her comments.

 Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican Party, accused Clinton of hiding “behind 9/11” to “defend her Wall Street connections.”

 “You reached a new low tonight by using 9/11 to defend your campaign donations,” Priebus wrote on Twitter, directing his comments to Clinton.

 
 
 
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