Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Republican focus on crime ahead of the 2022 midterm election was clear hypocrisy, telling CNN that the party is not “concerned about voter safety, they just want to keep voters scared.”
Clinton, who will headline a political rally on Thursday night with an event for New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, lauded President Joe Biden’s efforts to combat inflation as “truly impressive” but said it is “more challenging to get that focus on the future” than to stoke grievance.
Clinton’s most pointed attacks for Republicans, however, centered on crime and the reaction some Republicans have had to the attack on Paul Pelosi, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband.
“I find it ironic and frankly disturbing that when Paul Pelosi is attacked by an intruder in his own home with a hammer, the Republicans go silent about that crime,” Clinton said, invoking the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband. “You know, they aren’t concerned about voter safety, they just want to keep voters scared.”
Clinton said she agreed that crime should be a concern but said Republicans “don’t want to solve a problem, whether it is crime, inflation or anything else — they just want an issue.”
“They are just trying to gin up all kinds of fear and anxiety in people,” Clinton said “They are not dealing with it. They are not trying to tackle it. So, I view it as an effort to scare voters.”
The former secretary of state, who said former President Bill Clinton spoke to Nancy Pelosi after the attack, targeted Kari Lake, the Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate who notably made a joke about the attack on Paul Pelosi shortly after it happened.
Clinton called the Republican response to the attack “sadly a real indicator of where we are in our country right now that you would have people on the Republican ticket like the woman running in Arizona laughing about an attack on anyone, let alone an 82-year-old man whose wife happens to be second in line to the presidency.”
“I am rarely shocked anymore, but the reactions I have seen from a number of Republicans both in-person and online, making fun of that attack, somehow trying to turn it into a joke, the same party that wants us to be worried about crime,” Clinton said. “You know, the hypocrisy is incredibly obvious. And I want voters to think hard, why would you give authority to people who laugh at what happened to Paul Pelosi?”
Clinton, despite being one of the best-known Democrats in the country, has been one of the party's least-visible surrogates at campaign rallies in recent years. Her event with Hochul will be the first candidate-specific rally she will headline this year. That New York Democrats are asking for her help to juice turnout in Manhattan underscores the deep anxiety coursing through the party as Election Day nears, with Hochul locked in a close race against Republican Lee Zeldin.
Clinton said the tightness in the race between Hochul and Zeldin was “more of a turnout issue” and that the former Democratic presidential nominee expected the Democrat to win on Tuesday.
“But a midterm election is always difficult for the party in power. … We have seen that over and over again in recent history,” Clinton said. “So our job is to convince our voters to turn out because if they turnout then there is no doubt we will win.”
Clinton said the same issue was facing Democrats across the country, including the Biden administration, which now has to convince their actions now will make their future better.
“It’s really difficult to tell people what is going to happen in the future when, understandably, they are focused on the present,” said Clinton. “So yes, people are worried about the cost of living, they are worried about the economy, along the Republicans have absolutely no plan to do anything about that. … It is more challenging to get that focus on the future.”
Watch a portion of the interview: