Hillary Clinton’s disastrous foreign policy perpetuated the War on Terror, spread unrest and caused military conflict in the Middle East, and her policies were often abrasive toward immigrants and refugees. However, her record didn’t stop Clinton and her former staff from capitalizing on the outrage over Trump’s recent immigration ban that targeted seven Muslim countries.
“I stand with the people gathered across the country tonight defending our values & our Constitution. This is not who we are,” Clinton tweeted on January 28, shortly after her former Press Secretary, Brian Fallon, vaguely assigned credit to the Clinton campaign for the ACLU winning a legal challenge against Trump’s ban. Though Clinton and her campaign had nothing to do with the fight, he tweeted “The Brooklyn federal courthouse where @ACLU secured stay is literally across the street from Clinton’s former HQ. The fight goes on.” These tweets provided Clinton with coverage from several Clinton-friendly media outlets.
In 2015, Clinton defended deporting Latin American child immigrants at a press conference: “Specifically with respect to children on the border, if you remember, we had an emergency, and it was very important to send a message to families in Central America: Do not let your children take this very dangerous journey,” she said. Her comments were attacked by immigration advocates for legitimizing family detention and ignoring the refugee status of those children.
In 2011, Clinton’s State Department issued a six month ban on refugees from Iraq in response to a case in Kentucky where two refugees were discovered to have fought U.S. soldiers in Iraq. ABC News reported the refugee ban affected “many who had heroically helped U.S. forces as interpreters and intelligence assets. One Iraqi who had aided American troops was assassinated before his refugee application could be processed, because of the immigration delays, two U.S. officials said. In 2011, fewer than 10,000 Iraqis were resettled as refugees in the U.S., half the number from the year before, State Department statistics show.”
During Clinton’s service as secretary of state, she led the aggressive interventionist policy toward Libya and Syria. She voted for the Iraq War and the Patriot Act (twice), pushed Obama to maintain a military presence in Iraq, and pushed to escalate war in Afghanistan. She has defended highly controversial and unethical tactics used in fighting the war on terror, including mass surveillance. Clinton strongly implied that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was a traitor, citing a debunked claim that China and Russia obtained Snowden’s documents, and affirming, despite evidence to the contrary, that Snowden would have received whistleblower protections under the Obama administration. Clinton’s opinions toward Chelsea Manning are just as problematic in ignoring her questionable foreign policy strategy justified by the War on Terror. A 2011 Vanity Fair article reported “Hillary told staff that she could not fathom how an army private, Bradley Manning, with psychological problems and a drag-queen boyfriend could single-handedly cause the United States unprecedented embarrassment just by labeling massive downloads as Lady Gaga songs.”
During the 2016 presidential debates, Hillary Clinton’s responses to the War on Terror perpetuated Islamophobia and stereotypes about the Muslim community. “We need American Muslims to be part of our eyes and ears on our front lines,” Clinton said in the first and second presidential debate, elevating the stereotype that all Muslims are suspects in the War on Terror and framing Muslims in terms of national security rather than as American citizens.
Clinton accumulated endorsements and wealthy donors with Islamophobic views. General Wesley Clark endorsed Clinton in 2007 and in 2015, with the Clinton campaign praising Clark for the endorsement. Clark has called for internment camps to be established for “disloyal” Muslims. One of Clinton’s top campaign donors, billionaire Haim Saban, argued in 2015 that profiling Muslims and surveillance “on anyone and everybody who looks suspicious,” should be acceptable.
Hillary Clinton and establishment Democrats have been jumping on Trump’s unpopular executive orders for their own political gain. However, they have long advocated sentiments and ideology similar to Trump’s executive order.