The latest Democratic presidential candidate is running to Hillary Clinton’s left on foreign policy, but when it comes to questions about her emails and foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation, Lincoln Chafee sounds like a Republican.
Chafee pointed to what he described as Clinton’s “long record just going back over decades of questionable ethical practices,” pointing not just to recent questions over Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, but also to the decades-old Whitewater scandal on Thursday in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day.”
“It seems like it just never stops,” Chafee said. “Anytime you’re running for office…trustworthiness is a main concern of the voters,” Chafee said Thursday on CNN’s “New Day.”
Chafee hinted at a recent CNN/ORC poll that showed 57% of Americans believe Clinton is not honest and trustworthy, up from 49% in March.
Those numbers came as Republicans have continued to hammer Clinton on her use of private email housed on a personal server during her time as secretary of state and over foreign donations made to the Clinton Foundation during that same time.
“Those poll numbers and that perception of untrustworthiness, it just cannot sweep away. It’s something very, very important no matter what office you run for,” Chafee said.
Clinton’s other two primary opponents, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, have looked to set up a contrast with Clinton but have been warier of attacking Clinton, notably on the questions swirling around the Clinton Foundation and her email use.
But Chafee hasn’t hesitated, even before he formally announced his candidacy Wednesday.
Chafee is also going after Clinton’s record on foreign policy, calling her a “hawk” in the interview Thursday. And he is saying that Clinton’s vote in favor of the Iraq War in 2002 – which she has since called a mistake – should disqualify her from carrying the Democratic Party banner into the 2016 general election.
“I would submit to the Democrats across the country we are going to be compromised in trying to win the election in 2016 if our nominee supported the war in Iraq,” Chafee said Thursday. “In 2016, this should be a republican war, a Republican mess (in Iraq).”
He said he plans to raise questions about how the U.S. got “into this endless tragic quagmire” in Iraq and “who made the mistakes that got us there.”
Not Chafee, he would argue, as he voted against authorizing military intervention in Iraq when he was a U.S. senator.
Chafee said he would present himself as the candidate who wants to “wage peace,” not war.
He is also running on a less common presidential platform: bringing the metric system to the U.S., which he said would ring “big economic benefits” to the country.