Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer on Monday lambasted Hillary Clinton’s comment from earlier this year that she will put coal miners and coal companies out of business if she is elected president, calling it the "ultimate gaffe" as Clinton struggles to garner support in the heart of coal country in the Appalachian Region.
Appearing on Fox News Special Report’s All-Star Panel, Krauthammer said Clinton’s statement would end up hurting her in the general election with a large swath of the country that traditionally depends heavily on the coal industry.
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"It is the ultimate gaffe," Krauthammer said in reference to Clinton’s comments. "She said what she really believed, and she’s been running away from it ever since. There’s no way to run away from it. It will definitely hurt her in the general election in Appalachian coal country."
Clinton came under fire in March when she said at a CNN town hall that her presidential administration would "put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business." Her comment received newfound scrutiny when the Democratic race turned to the center of coal country for the West Virginia primary on May 10. Clinton received a hostile welcome when she campaigned in the state and lost by a wide margin to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).
Clinton apologized for her comments and tried to walk them back while in West Virginia and is now campaigning hard in Kentucky, another state heavily invested in the coal industry, for its May 17 primary.
Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt echoed Krauthammer’s analysis Wednesday on Special Report that Clinton’s promise to put coal miners out of business would backfire on her going forward.
"I really think that that coal remark will go down as her version of Mitt Romney’s 47 percent remark," Hurt said. "And what’s amazing about that is, of course, Mitt Romney said that at a private dinner and he didn’t think it was going to be quoted. [Clinton] says it in front of an auditorium full of people on national television. And I think it probably reveals certainly what many in the Democratic base want to do to the coal industry."
Clinton suggested on Sunday that she would put her husband and former president Bill "in charge" of fixing the economy if she wins the election in an effort to appeal to Kentucky voters that she will bring economic growth.