Donald Trump yesterday demanded that Hillary Clinton shut down the charitable foundation run by her husband, former US president Bill Clinton, branding it a “corrupt enterprise.”
“The Clintons have spent decades as insiders lining their own pockets and taking care of donors instead of the American people,” the Republican presidential candidate said in a statement.
“It is now clear that the Clinton Foundation is the most corrupt enterprise in political history,” Trump said, blasting the charity, which has raised some $2bn over the years.
Speaking a short time later on Fox News, Trump said the foundation had received financial contributions from various countries “that discriminated against women and gays and everybody else.”
That remark was an apparent allusion to various nations seen as having checkered histories on human rights that made generous donations to the foundation while Clinton served as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state between 2009 and 2013.
“I mean, that money – it should be given back. They should not take that money,” Trump told Fox.
The Clinton Foundation, created by the former president in 2001 after his departure from the White House, disburses funds domestically and overseas, handing out some $218mn in 2014.
But questions have been raised about possible conflicts of interest while Clinton, currently the Democratic presidential nominee, worked as secretary of state in the Obama administration.
A firewall was supposed to have been in place to ensure that the foundation’s work remained completely separate from Hillary Clinton’s role as head of US diplomacy, but critics said that barrier has been permeable at best.
Concerns were raised anew after e-mails surfaced recently showing that a close aide to Bill Clinton, Doug Band, contacted two senior aides of Hillary Clinton’s at the State Department, seeking their assistance in helping a donor – Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury – secure a meeting with a US diplomat in Lebanon.
Bill Clinton sought to tamp down the controversy, announcing last week that – if his wife is elected president in November – he would no longer accept foreign or corporate donations, and would step away from the board of the foundation.
The former president said additional measures would also be taken to shore up the divide between the foundation and the White House under a Hillary Clinton presidency.