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'To stay silent is to be complicit': Hillary Clinton questions why her former GOP colleagues won't challenge Trump

"I don't understand what has happened to them," Clinton said about Republicans with whom she served in the Senate.
Image: Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally in Pittsburgh, Pa., on July 30, 2016.Andrew Harnik / AP file

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton expressed exasperation Friday with Republicans she previously worked with who have refused to stand up to President Donald Trump and have instead remained silent.

In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Clinton was asked how she feels about her former GOP colleagues with whom she served in the Senate in the early 2000s who have been mute on Trump.

“I don’t understand what has happened to them,” said Clinton, who added that she keeps looking for a senator like Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican, who stood up to Joe McCarthy.

“When Russians are interfering in our election, when they’re putting bounties on American soldiers, to stay silent is to be complicit,” she said. “That’s what I don’t understand — why do they want their place in history to be tarred by this apology for Trump at every turn or the silence that marks them when they’re asked a tough question.”

Clinton said that the new Senate Intelligence Committee report about Russia, for example, “paints a very clear and damning picture” of representatives of Trump’s campaign in 2016 and representatives of the Russian government who participated in the election interference efforts. She said it’s “troubling” to hear from Trump administration intelligence officials that this foreign meddling is still going on.

Clinton said that other than Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, and a few others on some Senate votes, there has been “no consistent willingness” for these people to stand up for facts and evidence.

While she didn’t name any senators in particular, the Republicans with whom Clinton served who are still in in the Senate include Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Susan Collins of Maine, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, John Cornyn of Texas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Richard Burr of North Carolina, John Thune of South Dakota, John Barrasso of Wyoming, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

During the interview, Clinton said she’s worried about direct interference of the election through the U.S. Postal Service, saying she doesn’t think there’s any doubt that there’s a “deliberate effort to sabotage” the U.S. election by Trump. Reacting to Trump’s threat to send law enforcement officers to the polls on Election Day, Clinton said that he’s trying to “demonstrate an authoritarian approach” to literally scare people away from casting ballots.

Clinton said she’s spoken to Joe Biden, now the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, throughout the campaign about running against Trump. Her advice is that Biden should make sure not to let any attack go unanswered and correct lies being told. She also said that he should be prepared on the debate stage and not get dragged into Trump’s “reality show.”