A son of Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump is questioning how it is possible for Bill and Hillary Clinton to have made tens of millions of dollars in personal wealth just working for the charity they founded.
“The question I always asks is, what product were they selling?” Eric Trump said this week, in reference to the campaign of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, President Obama’s former secretary of state, over charges she essentially sold access to her office in a ‘pay-to-play’ operation.
“If we make a buck, we sold a bottle of wine or an apartment,” Eric Trump noted, “or we sold a hotel room. What product were they selling to make $150 million?” he asked during an appearance on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” program.
“Favors? The government?” responded one of the show’s hosts, Ainsley Earhardt.
“Of course,” Trump – who works for his billionaire father’s campaign – said, adding that this is what “leadership” now looks like in America, and that candidates like the Clintons are really just political operatives who are gaming the system to their own personal benefit. “Somebody sets up a foundation” and the next thing you know, they make hundreds of millions of dollars, Trump said, as reported by the Washington Times.
Hillary Clinton has infamously claimed she and her husband were “dead broke” when they left the White House after Bill’s two presidential terms. While that wasn’t true on its face, money the did have to spend was related in large part to their own scandals.
The figure of $150 million cited as the Clintons’ worth is high, the Times noted. Other estimates have pegged their net work at a combined $111 million, with Bill worth around $80 million and Hillary just over $30 million. Still, for public servants who made a couple hundred thousand dollars a year while in office, being worth tens of millions now is worthy of being questioned, especially given numerous reports citing her “pay-for-play” meetings with big donors while still at the State Dept., and questionable approval for the sale of national security assets to the Russian government.
“It’s just so so sad,” Eric Trump said. “People in this country work so hard and sometimes they are not able to achieve because of the policies that these politicians put in place and look what they do.”
While at State, the Clinton Foundation raked in hundreds of millions of dollars from foreign governments that often had business before the U.S. government, raising legitimate questions about whether they got favorable attention and access as a result of their donations.
In addition, the lines were also blurred between Clinton’s State Dept. staff and work they were doing – and getting paid for – simultaneously at the foundation.
Also questionable: High-pay for speeches to both Clintons, but especially Bill Clinton while his wife served as secretary of state. They include being paid $500,000 by a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin, as well as a $550,000 fee paid by a Chinese business group for a Shanghai speech.
Hillary Clinton, after she left the State Department and was mulling a presidential run of her own, commanded speaking fees of $200,000, mostly from trade organizations and Wall Street banks that she pretends to loath. She earned nearly $22 million from post-State Department speeches.