The Presidential Candidates and Their Scandals
As the U.S. election approaches, the need to review and analyze each presidential candidate is becoming an increasingly pressing matter. The backlash against both candidates due to scandals involving them is unprecedented in modern American history. On one hand, Secretary Clinton has made questionable decisions during her extensive political career: specifically, her use of a private email server to handle governmental correspondence during her tenure as Secretary of State has been widely criticized. On the other hand, Mr. Trump has made numerous controversial statements throughout his lifetime. The recently leaked audio involving Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women has received critical attention as well.
Below is a brief summary of each candidate’s involvement in scandal:
Republican Nominee Donald Trump
Donald J. Trump is no stranger to controversy. In fact, much of his campaign is based on ideologies that are outside the established political spectrum. Here are some of his most infamous controversies:
· A leaked audio tape revealed Trump engaging in lewd conversation and bragging about sexually assaulting women in 2005.
o This recording has received extensive media coverage and elicited disapproving responses from significant political (or otherwise influential) figures, including Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain. Trump released an apology statement and later defended himself by describing the speech as ‘locker room banter.’
Whether or not such an apology can be accepted is a challenge for the voter. Some claim that this audio tape is dated and does not necessarily reflect Trump’s present character. Nevertheless, we must also acknowledge that he was 59 years old at the time of the recording, and should take responsibility for his actions and his behaviour accordingly. There is no doubt that the behaviour exhibited in this clip is unpresidential.
· Use of Twitter
o Donald Trump is widely known for his usage of the social media platform Twitter to lash out at political opponents and develop his campaign. Such tactics have not been widely used by other presidential nominees in the past. Many of his Twitter statements are considered vulgar or offensive.
The commander-in-chief of the United States must display leadership not only domestically, but also internationally. The fact that America’s potential future president cannot control his temperament and chooses to maintain an unprofessional presence on the Internet raises concerns about his fitness to serve as president.
Democratic Nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton
Unlike Trump, a large bulk of Clinton’s scandals can be attributed to her political decisions rather than her statements or behaviour. Clinton is often portrayed as ‘untrustworthy’ and the public often perceive her as representing the elite American class despite her attempts to connect with the general public. Below is a summary of her actions that have caused the most controversy:
· Email Controversy
o In March 2015, it was revealed that Hillary Clinton exclusively used her family’s private email server to handle official governmental communications when she served as Secretary of State. The thousands of emails sent through her private messaging systems included correspondence that would be later filed as ‘classified.’ FBI investigations recommended no charges filed against Clinton but noted that she was ‘extremely careless.’ Clinton has since apologized profusely for her actions.
Secretary Clinton’s unprofessional practices of government procedure raises doubts about her qualification to serve as President of the United States. Her negligent actions are inexcusable and cannot be condoned. Fortunately, we must also acknowledge that there are no proven successful hacking attempts into Clinton’s private server. Furthermore, we should also remember that the U.S. federal online system itself is not particularly secure. In fact, there have been quite a number of successful hacking attempts into that system over the years. The government should be recommended to revise its security protocol in order to ensure the security of classified information.
· Benghazi Attacks
o On September 11th, 2012, a coordinated attack was launched against the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya as well as a CIA annex in the same city. This attack killed and wounded many, most notably U.S. ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens. Clinton was criticized for being negligent in her role as Secretary of State and allowing the security lapses to occur.
Clinton should not have ignored the security pleas and should have taken better precautions, yet responsibility and blame should not be solely put upon her. It is also insensitive to politicize the deaths in Benghazi in order to advance campaigns.
With the evidence at hand, we can acknowledge that both candidates have shown poor judgement. One candidate has understandably made errors in judgement as a politician. The other candidate’s errors seem morally questionable and also reveal an element of immaturity. It is up to the American people to decide who they believe can best represent the interests and image of America.
Written by: Margaret Lu