Donald Trump Right To Bring Up Suspicions Of Clinton In Haiti
In this election of endless memeable material, there's been one meme that has stuck out lately above the rest.
It's a picture that reimagines how Donald Trump would cite facts for a paper if he were college student.
The meme makes an obvious mockery out of Trump's tendency to boisterously shout some his biggest claims without any factual substance.
But during a certain segment of Wednesday night's debate, when that ol' signature line of his came out, it was hard to not be on his side.
During an exchange with Hillary Clinton on ethics, Trump said,
What's happened in Haiti with the Clinton Foundation is a disgrace!
You know what comes next.
And you know it, and they know it, and everybody knows it.
For once, Trump got it absolutely, undeniably right.
Perhaps "everybody" in the debate hall didn't know it, but in certain rooms across America – like the one I sat in with a Haitian father, uncle, aunt and two cousins – yes, everyone knew it.
The Clintons' history with Haiti is indeed a disgrace, and the way in which Clinton responded to the claim was indicative of that fact.
For a woman who was critically acclaimed for "destroying" Trump with facts on Wednesday, it's telling that there wasn't a single fact she brought up to directly disprove the idea of her facilitating corruption in a poor country that needs anything but.
Instead, she pointed to general attributes of the Clinton Foundation. You know the spiel:
Ninety percent of donations spent on programs. Triple A rating. Better than Donald's.
In all honestly, from a purely tactical standpoint, it made sense for Clinton to respond without tackling her history with Haiti head on. After all, maybe she knows.
Maybe she knows for someone who's on the verge of cementing herself as an icon of feminism, it's problematic that one of her achievements as Secretary of State includes impeding the campaign of Dr. Mirlande Manigat, who was set to become Haiti's first female president.
Maybe she knows her involvement in that election, which included a threat to cut off aid to the struggling nation, led to the election of a former singer, Michel "Sweet Mickey" Martelly, who turned out to be as terrible as his experience-free resume suggested he would be.
Maybe she knows it looks bad that the same singer was a cheerleader for the disastrous "relief" efforts that lined the pockets of corporations, were widely criticized as failures and (in classic imperialistic fashion) brought disease to Haiti.
In some instances, there is no question of maybe. It definitely looks bad that Clinton's brother, Tony Rodham, sat on the advisory board of a company that just happens to now own a gold mine in Haiti.
It definitely looks bad that Clinton's own daughter, Chelsea, had to write a lengthy email to address the "mind-numbing" incompetence surrounding the response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
At some point, for a candidate who has talked the talk when it comes to "Black Lives Matter," one can't help but ask: Why does Clinton have a penchant for actions that create the suspicion she takes advantage of the most vulnerable black lives in the Western Hemisphere?
After all, Clinton herself suggested we hold her to a high standard on these matters, specifically when she stated in 2009 that she wanted to "avoid even the appearance" of Clinton Foundation corruption.
Well, the appearance is there, ready, willing and able to be exploited. And therein lies my frustration with Trump.
A formidable opponent would have been able to exploit those flaws and force Clinton to answer for them, like all presidential hopefuls should do vis-à-vis their most controversial decisions.
Instead, we have a GOP nominee who routinely shoots himself in the foot and undermines his own legitimacy. In the words of the Atlantic's David A. Graham, Clinton has indeed gotten very lucky in this election.
Still, on Wednesday night, for this first generation Haitian-American, it was hard not to be on Trump's side, if even for just those few seconds. He was right, the Clintons' history in Haiti is a disgrace.
You know it, I know it and the people of Haiti definitely know it.