Politics & Government

Obama thought Hillary Clinton was guilty of ‘political malpractice,’ new book says

Former President Barack Obama didn’t think Hillary Clinton handled her email scandal the right way.
Former President Barack Obama didn’t think Hillary Clinton handled her email scandal the right way. AP

Democrats have many theories for why Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election to Donald Trump. One of them was her inability to shake the scandal over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

A new book reveals that former President Barack Obama, while publicly supporting Clinton to succeed him, was privately critical of the way she handled the email issue.

“He couldn’t understand what possessed Hillary to set up the private e-mail server, and her handling of the scandal — obfuscate, deny, and evade — amounted to political malpractice,” Amie Parnes and Jonathan Allen reported in ‘Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign.’

Many in the Clinton campaign wanted the candidate, who served under Obama as secretary of state between 2009 and 2013, to apologize for her use of a private server. But Clinton resisted issuing an apology, saying in an interview in September 2015 she was “sorry that this has been confusing to people.” Several days later she issued an apology statement, for the first time taking full responsibility for using her private email account for government business.

While the FBI determined Clinton’s practices broke no laws, Director James Comey said in a July 2016 press conference her email practices were “extremely careless.” Three months later and less than two weeks before election day, Comey wrote Congress to inform them the FBI was reviewing additional emails uncovered in a separate investigation. Just two days before the election, Comey announces that nothing has been found that would merit criminal charges for Clinton.

Parnes and Allen’s book also reports that former President Bill Clinton didn’t think his wife should issue an apology for the email debacle. He thought instead she should explain why she didn’t believe her email server was a problem. On election night, the former president compared his wife’s loss to Brexit.

“I guess it’s real,” he said.

After calling Trump to concede the race, Clinton phoned Obama.

“Mr. President, I’m sorry,” Clinton said, according to the book.