With a presidential race that is tightening up as we get closer to the election, Democratic voters were certainly concerned about the health of their nominee, former Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton stumbled and was rushed into a waiting car at a 9/11 memorial event on Sunday, leading to renewed concerns about her health. Clinton has since released some health information and told the Tom Joyner Morning Show she’s feeling much better. Then she proceeded to prove it by answering some tough questions from the TJMS crew. Here’s what Mrs. Clinton had to say about Donald Trump, why it’s important to vote and her plans for America’s future.
Roland Martin: A recent New York Times story revealed that focus groups showed that African-Americans are leery about your presidency. Beyond criminal justice, what are the three issues that impact African-Americans that you can speak to get them paying attention to your campaign?
Hillary Clinton: I’m well aware that I still have work to do and I’m very committed to continuing to traveling across the country to talk about and hear from young African-Americans about the struggles that they face daily. Our campaign has hired a number of people, both at our headquarters and organizers on and off campus that are also having conversations about what’s at stake in this election. And I also have a lot of sympathy, because think about what this millennial generation has faced. They entered the workforce during one the worst recessions in our nation’s history.
So what I’m focusing on is more good-paying jobs, I want to make college affordable and that is a plan that I’ve been talking about and working toward since I got into this campaign. I also want to help everybody with student debt and that’s a very high proportion of African-American young people with a B.A., that come out with student debt. We’re going to really help that get paid down and paid off so people can get on with their life.
I’m committed to helping historically Black colleges and universities – in fact, I have a specific fund of $25 billion dollars that will really upgrade and support and provide financial assistance for young people, because I think the HBCU’s are incredibly important in providing a pathway into the future. We’re going to make sure that we deal with criminal justice reform, address gun violence and have a positive agenda to get wages up. Not only national minimum wage, but equal pay for women, helping small businesses, especially young people who want to be entrepreneurs. You know the fastest growing segment of small business in America are African-American women. We’re really putting out a very broad-based agenda and the more young people hear about it, the more they know what I will do to help invest and fund employment, skills training and education, the more interested they become.
Don Lemon: The former Secretary of State Colin Powell, in his hacked emails, has criticized you and your “minions” for trying to drag him into your email server problem. He concludes by saying “Everything HRC touches, she kind of screws up with hubris.” How do you answer him and critics who say whether it’s your emails, or disclosing your health issues or even pointing out Trump’s flypaper-like ability for attracting racially insensitive or “deplorables” as you call them, that somehow the message gets screwed up.
I have a great deal of respect for Colin Powell. And I have a lot of sympathy for anyone whose emails become public. I’m not going to start discussing someone’s private emails. I’ve already spent a lot of time talking about mine, as you know. What I think is really important about these emails is the chilling fact is that the Russians are continuing to interfere with our elections. I have to say, I’m increasingly concerned about Donald Trump’s alarming closeness with the Kremlin over the course of this campaign. It’s deeply concerning and there’s a lot that Trump should answer for. Because these attempts by Russia to interfere in the election go hand in hand with his closeness to the Kremlin and his flattery of Putin. It’s not just me that is noticing this. Fellow Republicans, and foreign policy [leaders] and [those with] national security experience and NATO leaders. I’m going to keep raising the alarm about Russian influence and that raises questions about who Trump actually does business with.
Don Lemon: Can I just follow and say that by hubris [Powell] is saying that you’re stepping on your message by hubris or arrogance or by not being transparent.
Again, I’m not going to comment on anything that is said in a private email.
Lemon: Even to critics beyond the former Secretary?
I think I’ve worked very, very hard to be more transparent than not just my opponent, but in a comparison to anybody’s who’s run. The medical information I put out, and we’re going to put out more, meets and exceeds the standard that other presidential candidates, including President Obama and Mitt Romney, have met. I think the real questions need to be directed to Donald Trump and his failure to meet even the most minimalistic standards that we expect of someone being the nominee of our two major parties.
Lemon: Do you know when you’re going to release the records, as he says he’s releasing some soon, or more information?
Very shortly. We really want to respond to the legitimate questions that people might have. I’m very touched by the concern that’s been set forth about my health. I’m really glad that I did finally follow my doctor’s orders and take some days to rest instead of just powering through, which I think is a common experience for people. So we’re going to put out more information and that will be twice as much as he’s put out and we’ll see what, if anything, he’s willing to disclose.
Sybil Wilkes: I have a question about all the anger that’s going on in our country in both race and religion. Colin Kaepernick is taking a knee in protest with what’s going on with police and Black citizens and a Muslim woman in traditional garb was set on fire in New York and another group of women was attacked in Brooklyn. There is so much anger and so much ill will. Is there a way that you are going to try to bring people together to bring some understanding to all of this anger and hatred that we seem to be experiencing?
Sybil, I am so concerned about all of this. I have said that Donald Trump has run a deplorable campaign. He’s accepted support and been cheered on by people like David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and other white supremacists. It was funny the other day when his running mate, Mike Pence, called David Duke deplorable. I do think we have to speak out against this hatred. Trump attacked a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage.
He bullied a Gold Star family because of their Muslim faith. He promoted and he’s still promoting the lie that our first Black President is not a true American. He called women pigs and bimbos. I’m going to keep calling out the bigotry and hateful rhetoric that he’s brought to this campaign because I don’t think you can make our country great by tearing people down. I do really believe we are stronger together. But I also accept the responsibility, making sure that we do everything we can to try to heal these divides to bring people together. But it starts by standing up and calling out the bigotry and the hatred that we see coming from Trump. He has incited violence and he has been more than willing to align himself with the so-called Alt Right and everything deplorable thing they represent.
In our campaign, we say ‘Love Trumps Hate’ and we really mean it. I’ve talked a lot on the campaign trail about how we need more love and kindness. I gave a speech to the National Baptist Conference last week to talk about my faith and the humility one should feel just to be human being, never mind one seeking authority. We are not people of hate and we are not people who condone this violence and cited a few of the examples that were just sickening. I want to be the president of everybody, not just people who agree with me or people who vote for me.
For people who have legitimate concerns about what’s happening in the economy or what’s been happening in their lives, we should get together and address those. We need to help people who’ve been left out and left behind, whether they’re in the inner city or a community or Indian country or anywhere else in America. We will help you. But we will not tolerate racism and sexism and misogyny and Islamophobia and xenophobia and the terrible anti-immigrant rhetoric that Trump has engaged in. And that violence is not the answer to anything.
Roland Martin: How do you make the argument that economy is improving even though you have hardcore numbers – stock exchange is at record highs for the last eight years – recent reports that personal income is up and poverty is falling, when some people think the economy is terrible. How do you make that argument?
You have to make it because it’s factually accurate. Barack Obama does not get the credit for pulling our economy back from the abyss. We could have had a Great Depression, not just a great recession. Yes, a lot of people were hurt. African-Americans and Latinos were disproportionately hurt. So it’s my job to say ‘We are standing but we’re not yet running.’ But for heaven’s sake, don’t turn the economy back to the very same people who wrecked it in the first place. Trickle-down economics destroyed what was inherited from the eight years of my husband’s administration. African-American family income went up $33%. More people were lifted out of poverty than at any other time in recent history. We were on the right path. But along came the idealogues, and Trump wants to double down on all the wrong economic policies.
Martin: If you become President, will you ask the President to pull Merrick Garland’s nomination to allow someone younger to be in his place and if you do, will the appointment be the first African-American woman nominee in history?
I think we should stick with one President at a time. We happen to have a very good one, in my opinion and he has nominated someone. It’s a disgrace that the Senate, under Republican leadership, has failed to act on his nominee which is why we need to elect Democrats to the Senate. I’m going to let this president serve out his term with distinction and make the decisions that he thinks are right for the country.I think he’s got a pretty good track record and he’s earned that right.
If I have the opportunity to make any Supreme Court appointments, I’m going to look broadly and widely for people who represent the diversity of our country and bring some common sense, real world experience. I’m still outraged at what the Supreme Court did to the Voting Rights Act. I was in the Senate and I voted to reauthorize it, as did 98 of my colleagues, Democratic and Republican alike. George Bush signed it.
And then this Supreme Court, with this conservative majority at the time, said ‘Oh, we don’t need the Voting Rights Act anymore.’ What a charade. And you can see what’s happening. I see it every day. There is a concerted effort to try to shrink the franchise, make it difficult for people to vote and stop them at the polls. The only way to fix it is for a lot of people to turn out and say ‘We’re not going to stand for this.’ That’s why we need a Supreme Court that actually represents the people of this country and our most fundamental values.
Lemon: Are you concerned about the polls that show you down in swing states?
I’ve said repeatedly that I always thought this would be a close election. We have our organization in place. I’m very proud of what we’ve been building for a year. I hope everyone takes this seriously and gets out and works and votes. We have to decide what kind of country we’re going to be. Are we going to make our economy work for everybody or just those at the top? Are we going to bring people together or demonize those that doesn’t look like us or practice the same religion and rip our country apart? Are we going to work with our allies to keep us safe or put a loose cannon in charge who would risk everything? The choice is clear. The stakes couldn’t be higher and I’m going to do everything that I can to make people realize that this is not one you can sit out.
(Photo Source: Courtesy)