At last night’s Democratic town hall, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo asked Hillary Clinton to explain why she continues to withhold the transcripts of speeches she gave to several Wall Street banks between 2013 and 2015, for which she earned $2.5 million. You can watch the exchange above, or read the transcript below:
Chris Cuomo: Earlier tonight, I asked Senator Sanders, will you give your transcripts of speeches—that’s what you said, when the others give, then I’ll give—he said he doesn’t have any bank speeches, if he can find any of the speeches he did give for money, he will gladly give the transcripts up. So: Will you agree to release these transcripts? They have become an issue.
Clinton: Sure, if everybody does it, and that includes the Republicans, because we know they have made a lot of speeches.
After adding some boilerplate about how she intends to regulate the U.S. financial industry, Cuomo interjected:
Cuomo: All the more reason to remove this as an issue. You know everybody’s not going to bring up their transcripts—they’re’ll be a hundred reasons—
Clinton: Why is there one standard for me, and not for everybody else, Chris? [applause]
Clinton’s justification for not releasing these speeches largely mirrors what she told ABC News earlier this month: “Let everybody who’s ever given a speech to any private group under any circumstances release them. We’ll all release them at the same time.”
This logic is absurd. The reason there’s a different standard for Clinton is that she is the only candidate in this race who, after personally accepting millions of dollars from Wall Street banks, decided to run for President on a platform of regulating those banks. Her sustained evasion last night is particularly ridiculous because, two days after her ABC News interview, the public learned that, during a 2013 speech to Goldman Sachs, Clinton reportedly acted and spoke like a Goldman executive hoping to rally the banks’ rank-and-file for another profitable quarter. One attendee told Politico, “In this environment, it could be made to look really bad.”
It’s become increasingly clear that the content of these speeches are, in fact, highly damaging to Clinton’s self-rendered image as a tough Wall Street regulator. What else could explain her repeated refusals to release them to the public?