“While Haiti has suffered, the Clintons and their pals have cashed in. Bill and Hillary’s brothers have signed housing deals in Haiti, and one wound up on the board of a gold mining company,” Trump said during a speech in Greenville, N.C., Tuesday evening. “Clinton Foundation donors have seen the Clintons pave the way for their investments."
The former secretary of state's brother, Tony Rodham, was in fact involved with a gold mine in Haiti — a political liability that caught attention last year and raised eyebrows among political observers. Rodham was introduced to the chief executive of the VCS Mining company at a Clinton Global Initiative meeting, he said in an interview last year.
(CGI, an offshoot of the Clinton foundation that united business and global leaders, has been heavily criticized as blending charity and business interests.)
Rodham said that he does not attend the CGI meetings to pursue personal business: “No, I go to see old friends. But you never know what can happen.”
Trump continued, knocking the foundation’s role in job development after the earthquake.
“In one deal, Hillary Clinton set aside environmental and labor rules to help a South Korean company with a record of violating workers’ rights set up what amounts to a sweat shop in Haiti,” Trump said. “The facility has produced only a fraction of the jobs it promised and faces reports of wage theft.”
Although it is immediately unclear what factory or environmental standards Trump is talking about specifically — therefore making his assertions unverifiable — his claims about lackluster job development is congruent with on-the-ground complaints by many Haitans and local government leaders. The Washington Post reported on the issue at length last year:
The Clintons are facing a growing backlash that too little has been accomplished in the past five years and that some of the most high-profile projects they have backed — including a just-opened Marriott, another luxury hotel and the industrial park — have helped foreign investors and Haiti’s wealthy elites more than its poor.… Each morning, crowds line up outside the park’s big front gate, which is guarded by four men in crisp khaki uniforms carrying shotguns. They wait in a sliver of shade next to a cinder-block wall, many holding résumés in envelopes. Most said they have been coming every day for months, waiting for jobs that pay about $5 a day.
The Clinton campaign blasted those attacks, pointing to an improper $25,000 contribution the Donald J. Trump Foundation made to a political group backing Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. The attorney general was at the time considering complaints against the Trump University for-profit education business; the donation was made days after her office announced it was considering an investigation, which Bondi ultimately decided against.
Critics have accused Trump and Bondi of a quid pro quo arrangement, which both deny.
The donation, which violated restrictions against charities' giving to political candidates, was not reported to the IRS and resulted in a penalty.
"There is only one candidate in the race whose foundation has been caught in an illegal pay-to-play scheme. Instead of dredging up old debunked conspiracy theories, Donald Trump should release his tax returns and come clean on his apparently successful attempt to buy off the Attorney General of Florida," Clinton spokesperson Glen Caplin said in a statement.
Trump also knocked Clinton during a campaign event in Greenville, N.C., on Tuesday evening for using a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.
“She fails to meet the minimum standard for running for public office. If she applied for a low-level job at the State Department today, just a low-level job, she couldn’t even get a security clearance based on what she’s done,” he said. “Her conduct is disqualifying.”
“People who have nothing to hide don't smash phones with hammers ... or destroy evidence to keep it from being publicly archived as required under federal law,” he added.