Hil­lary Clin­ton’s ex­trav­a­gant life­style

Con­nect­ing with the mid­dle class is some­thing that eludes the for­mer sec­re­tary of state

The Washington Times Weekly - - Com­men­tary - By Kelly Rid­dell

Can Hil­lary Clin­ton re­ally just be a woman of the peo­ple? Her cam­paign is based on the premise she’ll nar­row the gap be­tween the rich and the poor and un­der­stands the plight of the av­er­age work­ing class.

“For the fac­tory work­ers and food servers who stand on their feet all day. For the nurses who work the night shift. For the truck­ers who drive for hours and the farm­ers who feed us…. For ev­ery­one who’s ever been knocked down, but re­fused to be knocked out,” Mrs. Clin­ton said dur­ing her pres­i­den­tial kick-off speech last year, vow­ing to fight for the mid­dle class.

But this is a tough nee­dle to thread, con­sid­er­ing Mrs. Clin­ton is part of the top 1 per­cent of the 1 per­cent, and got that way prof­it­ing off of pub­lic ser­vice.

When Mrs. Clin­ton emerged from the hos­pi­tal af­ter the birth of her grand­son this week, all eyes were on her $3,500 Ralph Lau­ren calf­skin purse, be­ing car­ried by an aide. New mom Chelsea Clin­ton and her hus­band, Marc Mezvin­sky, paid up­wards of $1,700 or more per night to stay in the Lenox Hill hos­pi­tal in Man­hat­tan, the same one where Bey­once and Jay-Z wel­comed their daugh­ter.

The ex­ec­u­tive birthing suite is more like a five-star ho­tel, with “flatscreen TVs, lushly up­hol­stered gray and cream so­fas adorned with silken throw pil­lows,” the New York Daily News re­ported.

A far cry from your av­er­age hos­pi­tal room.

There’s no doubt, Mrs. Clin­ton’s had trou­ble con­nect­ing with the peo­ple she’s try­ing to reach.

In the lat­est Quin­nip­iac poll in the swing states of Florida, Ohio and Penn­syl­va­nia, more than half of the re­spon­dents said Mrs. Clin­ton doesn’t “care about the needs and prob­lems of peo­ple like you.”

They also judged ri­val Don­ald Trump as more “hon­est and trust­wor­thy.” And there’s no won­der why. In 2014, Mrs. Clin­ton fa­mously said in an in­ter­view “we came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt.” That year, the Clin­ton’s re­ported a to­tal in­come of $16.2 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to their pub­lic dis­clo­sure re­port.

To­day, the Clin­ton’s net worth is as much as $52.7 mil­lion, which doesn’t even in­clude the values of their homes in Wash­ing­ton and New York, which are es­ti­mated at $9.3 mil­lion.

And they’re used to this mil­lion­airestyle liv­ing.

In 2014 Mrs. Clin­ton col­lected a $225,000 speak­ing fee to ad­dress the Univer­sity of Ne­vada at Las Ve­gas. Among her re­quests was a pri­vate jet, first class air­fare for one of her aides, busi­ness-class air­fare for two of her aides, and a pres­i­den­tial ho­tel suite for her at the five-star Bel­la­gio, plus “up to three ad­join­ing rooms for her travel aides and up to two ad­di­tional sin­gle rooms for the ad­vance staff,” ac­cord­ing to the leaked ad­vance doc­u­ments.

In April, she wore a $12,495 Ar­mani jacket dur­ing a speech about in­come in­equal­ity. In an ap­pear­ance on the View, she clutched a $1,645 Alexan­der McQueen hand­bag.

Mrs. Clin­ton is so out of touch, she’s had to hire a team of im­age ex­perts that in­cludes a for­mer Michelle Obama aide who’s been tasked with “shap­ing her style and making her more re­lat­able,” ac­cord­ing to the New York Post.

Then there’s the con­flat­ing of pub­lic wealth with pri­vate wealth.

The U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion pro­hibits govern­ment em­ploy­ees from keeping presents worth more than $350, but upon leav­ing the White House, the Clin­ton’s didn’t seem to un­der­stand this and walked out with about $200,000 worth of mer­chan­dise in­clud­ing flat­ware, china, fur­ni­ture and rugs.

Af­ter the story broke, the Clin­tons said they would pay the govern­ment nearly $86,000 for items that were ac­tu­ally govern­ment prop­erty and also re­turned about $48,000 worth of White House fur­ni­ture.

Work­ing in the pub­lic sec­tor for more than two-decades with all its at­ten­tion, bells be­ing rung and an­swered has also di­min­ished Mrs. Clin­ton’s sense of re­al­ity.

Some of her emails re­leased as sec­re­tary of State de­scribe her dif­fi­culty in work­ing com­mon­place of­fice tools.

They de­scribe her frus­tra­tion at us­ing a fax ma­chine and her in­abil­ity to know how to send and re­ceive emails on a desk­top so much so she’s now be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the FBI for re­leas­ing clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion. But then there are the mi­nor things. Emails show Mrs. Clin­ton had to ask an aide when tele­vi­sion shows aired, and how much her per­sonal chef billed her (let alone know­ing how much a gal­lon of milk cost, or how to pre­pare her own meals).

On the cam­paign trail, she’s asked vot­ers silly (but se­ri­ous) ques­tions about what it means to “go-vi­ral” and if she’d wiped her email server clean with “like a cloth or some­thing?” She had a prob­lem with a New York sub­way turn­stile.

Yes, Mr. Trump’s a bil­lion­aire, but he con­nects with work­ing-class peo­ple more than Mrs. Clin­ton ever will. He’s been on con­struc­tion sites, man­aged em­ploy­ees and made his money through the pri­vate sec­tor.

All the while, Mrs. Clin­ton has been get­ting rich off your dime, and liv­ing like it in an in­su­lar world.

No won­der why she’s hav­ing such a hard time con­nect­ing. Kelly Rid­dell is a colum­nist for The Wash­ing­ton Times.


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