The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Some of Trump’s toughest media critics agree: The Clinton Foundation should close

Hillary Clinton addresses Clinton Global Initiative attendees Sept. 24, 2012, in New York. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Taking a break from pondering the relationship status of cable news hosts, Donald Trump issued a statement Monday calling for a total shutdown of the Clinton Foundation.

More extreme rhetoric from a candidate who specializes in it? Maybe. But if that's the case, Trump's fellow extremists include Cokie Roberts, the Huffington Post and the Boston Globe.

Just hours before Trump put out his statement, Roberts on NPR's "Morning Edition" said this about a recently published batch of emails suggesting foundation donors received special access to the State Department while Clinton was secretary of state: "I think it contributes to all of the concern about her honesty and trustworthiness. My personal view is they should shut down that foundation, but the ability to do that with ongoing programs is very difficult."

This is the same Roberts who in March co-wrote a newspaper column in which she took a firm stance against Trump, prompting NPR to clarify that she is a commentator, not a straight news reporter, and a contributor, not a staff member.

On Sunday, the Huffington Post published a blunt, all-caps banner on its home page: "JUST SHUT IT DOWN."

This is the same Huffington Post that for a while posted Trump-related stories in its entertainment section and slaps an editor's note on many articles about the Republican presidential nominee: "Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S."

Last week, the Boston Globe editorial board wrote that "the foundation should remove a political — and actual — distraction and stop accepting funding. If Clinton is elected, the foundation should be shut down."

This is the same Boston Globe that in April printed a satirical front page imagining the troubling headlines that the newspaper might run during a Trump presidency and editorialized that "Donald J. Trump's vision for the future of our nation is as deeply disturbing as it is profoundly un-American."

Trump is basking in this agreement, boasting on his campaign website that "even mainstream outlets are calling for the shuttering of the Clinton Foundation."

The list of outlets on Trump's side is not quite as long as he would like voters to believe. He includes The Washington Post, for instance, which editorialized last Sunday that "the ethical wall [Hillary Clinton] was supposed to have built between herself and her family's organization was not impermeable enough" — but stopped short of calling for a shutdown.

Also, journalists such as Slate's Josh Voorhees, who said the Clintons ought to close the foundation, don't come close to accepting Trump's contention that the nonprofit "is the most corrupt enterprise in political history."

Still, some of Trump's harshest critics in the media do share his position that conflicts of interest are unavoidable and that the Clinton Foundation should suspend its operations. It is clear the foundation has become a conservative media problem for Hillary Clinton.