As prominent supporters distanced themselves from U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s lewd remarks about sexually assaulting women, Hillary Clinton had her own set of troubling comments to answer to, as Wikileaks exposed the Democratic presidential candidate's cozy relationship with Wall Street.
Wikileaks last week began posting thousands of emails from Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta’s account, including transcripts of her paid speeches to behemoth financial institutions and corporate audiences. In the cache, Clinton articulates her affection for Wall Street, an industry she would be required to regulate as president, such as her support for job-killing international trade policies and praise for austerity measures that would cut the most effective anti-poverty program in U.S. history, social security.
The transcripts include stunning admissions from Clinton about her extraordinary wealth — "I'm kind of far-removed" from middle-class concerns — her duplicitous views on governing — "you need both a public and a private position" — and an acknowledgment that many voters believe that politics is "rigged."
Wikileaks published the trove of emails just minutes after the Washington Post published audiotapes on its website revealing misogynistic remarks made by Trump in 2005. Following the disclosure, high-profile supporters such as Arizona Senator John McCain said they no longer supported the presidential bid by the billionaire developer and even Trump's wife, Melania, described the comments as "disgusting."
Throughout her campaign, Clinton has refused to release the transcripts of the speeches for which she has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars, given to Goldman Sachs and other banks and corporations.
In a Jan. 2016 email, the same month where she had said, “I believe strongly that we need to make sure that Wall Street never wrecks Main Street again,” and that “no bank is too big to fail, and no executive is too powerful to jail,” Clinton’s campaign wrote what appears to be a summary of what attacks could be made based on the excerpts from her speeches. The headers use phrases such as “Clinton Admits that she is Out of Touch" and "Clinton Suggests Wall Street Insiders are What is Needed to Fix Wall Street."
While her campaign team has not yet confirmed whether the emails are real, Podesta has blamed the leaks on a Russian hack, invoking similar accusations that the Democratic Party has made of earlier email leaks.
Meanwhile, Trump spent the weekend rejecting calls from fellow Republicans demanding that he quit the race. After flopping badly in the first presidential debate, Trump needs to perform well in Sunday's debate to make up the ground he lost to Clinton with only a month left before the election. In a virtual dead-heat entering the first debate, Trump now finds himself behind by three to four percentage points in most polls.