You know it's going to be a weird day when you find yourself writing the following words: Donald Trump is right — about the Clinton Foundation. The GOP nominee's assertion Monday morning that the Clinton Foundation should shut down is actually spot-on, and I say that as a Hillary Clinton supporter. I believe shutting down the Clinton Foundation would be good for the Democratic nominee.
Trump posted a statement on his Facebook page explaining why the Clinton Foundation "must be shut down immediately." Don't worry: the rest of Trump's statement is absolute garbage. Aside from the fact that it looks en face totally ridiculous to proclaim the Clinton Foundation "the most corrupt enterprise in political history," it also once again betrays Trump's weak grasp on American history (Tammany Hall, anyone?). Not to mention that there's something pretty rich about this accusation coming from someone who won't release his tax returns.
But the fact of the matter is that the Clinton Foundation, while undoubtedly having done good, has turned into a political and ethical albatross around Clinton's neck. This is going to be hard, because the Clintons are clearly proud of it, and if nothing else, they are a proud family. But in this political cycle where Clinton seems to need to have ten times the moral fiber of her opponent, the decision is a no-brainer. Just shut it down.
Calls for something along these lines have been brewing over the last week or so. On August 16, The Boston Globe ran an editorial calling for the Clinton Foundation to close if Clinton is elected in November, saying "The foundation should remove a political — and actual — distraction and stop accepting funding." The Clintons seemed prepared to make changes, with Associated Press reporting last week that the Foundation would stop accepting foreign and corporate donations if Clinton is elected, and that they'd be ending their annual Clinton Global Initiatives meetings regardless of the outcome of the November vote.
But this proved insufficient for the New York Post, who called for the complete shutdown of the Clinton Foundation in an editorial on Sunday. "Call it chutzpah or just utter tone-deafness," it stated. "The Clintons are now promising that the family foundation will stop taking foreign and corporate donations if Hillary wins the White House."
On one level, Trump's Monday morning call for the shutdown actually seems a bit late to the party, but he's also taking a gamble here. If they follow his advice, my money is on most voters forgetting about the Foundation by Labor Day, let alone Election Day. But, if the Clintons' ego — which, we can all agree, is sizable (if not quite as large as the man who puts his name in enormous gilded letters on the sides of buildings) — is too large to let them shutter their family's foundation, Trump has found himself a punching bag that he can keep using for the rest of the election.
Let's hope the Clintons are smarter than that, and they can live up to their reputation of savvy politicos. Once Hillary joins Bill in being a former President, the two of them can have as many foundations as they want. But she has to get elected first.