As aides to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign forecast "headwinds" and "bumpy" rides as the commotion surrounding her private email wages on, one major Democratic fundraiser is expressing growing concern regarding the former secretary of state’s viability in 2016.
Peter Buttenwieser, a Philadelphia philanthropist who helped raise over $500,000 for Barack Obama in his first presidential bid in 2008, described himself as "concerned" about polls indicating that a majority of Americans do not trust Clinton, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Buttenwieser is one of several Democratic donors with whom top campaign aides are hurriedly establishing communication to assure that Clinton did not do anything illegal in her exclusive use of a private email system while secretary of state.
"They have made a careful and bona fide attempt to reassure people. I’ve told representatives of the campaign … that I have grown to be quite concerned," Buttenwieser said. In response to his worry, staffers have invited the donor to Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, to meet with campaign manager Robby Mook as well as other top aides.
Buttenwieser, who donated to Joe Biden’s campaign for Senate in 1999, lamented that Clinton’s bid for president is "on a serious downward trajectory."
The donor has not yet hosted a fundraiser for Clinton nor made a contribution to her campaign, according to data from the Federal Election Commission.
This is also not the first instance of Buttenwieser expressing concern about the controversy surrounding Clinton.
In April, the Democratic fundraiser also expressed worry regarding the Clinton Foundation’s suspect acceptance of donations from foreign sources.
"I think it should be a concern, yes," he told Politico. "It’s a legitimate concern, and I think that Secretary Clinton needs to be able to explain this in a straightforward, constructive, thoughtful way. And I think the sooner that she does that, the better. And I assume that she will rise to the occasion and work through this; it’s part of running, and I think it’s critical that she do it and not wave it off."
Buttenwieser’s increased worry comes just as Vice President Joe Biden mulls a bid for the White House in 2016.
Clinton aides have been rattled by the email controversy as the FBI continues its investigation into the security of the former secretary of state’s personal server. Senior aides, reportedly including Huma Abedin and campaign chairman John Podesta, are reaching out to donors via meetings, phone conversations and emails to quell their concern.
According to an unnamed senior campaign official, the message aides are selling to donors is, "It’s going to be bumpy, friends."
Indeed, Podesta warned of "headwinds" brewing amid the email controversy Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
"We’ve had some headwinds particularly around the email question," the campaign chairman confessed. "There’s been a lot of noise that's made it more difficult to break through."