On Monday, former president (and husband of a current presidential candidate) Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch made the as-yet-inexplicable decision on to meet aboard a private plane in Phoenix. With Hillary Clinton currently under federal investigation as the Justice Department assesses her private server and emails, such a meeting is being widely criticized as representing a conflict of interest. It seems fairly accepted (if you’re not a right-wing conspiracy theorist or someone who just really hates either Clinton) that nothing untoward actually took place, which leaves a rather baffling lack of foresight. Why do this?
One would think that Clinton and Lynch had to have known that people would latch on to this. It seems like such an easily avoidable headline, and it’s coming at a time when Clinton really needs to shake the distrust that has followed her throughout the primary season, whether in the form of Benghazi or her email server or whatever Trump feels like tweeting out at any particular time.
Lynch said the meeting was a “social” one, and that is probably the case. That being said, it really does nothing in the way of providing explanation. The two could easily have caught up and chatted about their families (and golf, according to what Lynch told reporters) in a less frenzy-causing fashion. The meeting may not represent everything the conspiracy theorists claim, but it does represent a sizable, and apparently entirely unnecessary, display of poor judgment.
Plus, it gave presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump a new anti-Clinton nugget to blather about and add to his "crooked Hillary" arsenal. Trump called in to The Mike Gallagher Show, first to complain about the media and the various GOPers who do not like him, then to falsely claim that if deceased Justice Antonin Scalia was alive, the Texas abortion ruling would have gone the other way, and then to announce that the meeting between Lynch and Clinton was terrible and no good.
“It is an amazing thing,” Trump said. “It was really a sneak. It was really something that they didn’t want publicized, as I understand it. Wow. I think it’s so terrible. I think it’s so horrible. It’s one of the big stories of this week, of this month, of this year. You know, I’ve been talking about the rigged system, how it’s rigged. And, you know, this is terrible, and nobody can understand why nothing’s happened. You see a thing like this, and even in terms of judgement, how bad a judgement is it for him, or for her, to do this? I mean, who would do this? And it’s a massive story now, it’s all over.”
Trump, of course, is both right and wrong here. It is indeed a massive story, but in an empty, self-perpetuating way. It’s a massive story in the sense that it’s being widely covered, not in the sense that it really means anything. Which brings us back to the question of judgment — and that's actually the bit about which Trump, unfortunately, has a point. This really didn’t have to happen.