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Clinton campaign chair John Podesta tried to justify Hillary Clinton’s ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Wall Street on Tuesday, ties that contradict her anti-gun, anti-big bank campaign message.
The Clinton campaign will hold a March fundraiser where “several” NRA and Goldman Sachs lobbyists will make appearances. These lobbyists include Jeff Forbes, who represented the NRA from 2009 until 2015, and Steve Elmendorf, who has lobbied for Goldman Sachs.
John Podesta defended the event, titled “Lunch with John Podesta,” as well as Clinton’s NRA and Wall Street ties, by explaining the financial reality of political campaigns.
“Well look, I think we’re trying to raise the resources that are necessary with respect to her positions,” Podesta said. “As you know, there’s a lot of money coming at us from the other side, and we’re going to raise the resources that we need to raise to compete.”
When pressed again about whether Forbes’ participation undermines Clinton’s stance on Wall Street and the gun lobby, Podesta said that Forbes no longer works for the NRA. Forbes quit lobbying for the NRA only months ago, in December 2015.
“As I understand your reference to the gun lobbies, the person no longer does that, and that’s a good thing for the country because we need to beat back the gun lobby,” Podesta said.
Podesta said that there is “no one who has been stronger, louder” than Clinton “in taking on the gun lobby,” and contrasted her record to that of her rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.). He also said that Clinton will “take on Wall Street with comprehensive plan.”
Clinton has come under fire for raising millions of dollars from paid speeches to big banks while talking about income inequality and Wall Street corruption on the campaign trail. She has also refused to imitate President Obama’s ban on donations from lobbyists and PACs to her own campaign.