Hilary Clinton called Jeb Bush’s incendiary comments insinuating that African Americans were beholden to the Democratic Party because of “free stuff” both insulting and backwards.
“That kind of rhetoric is deeply insulting, whether it comes from Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney or Donald Trump,” Clinton said in a Facebook Q & A on Monday. “I think people are seeing this for what it is: Republicans lecturing people of color instead of offering real solutions to help people get ahead, including facing up to hard truths about race and justice in America.”
Former Secretary Clinton’s comments come a day after Bush, a GOP presidential hopeful, doubled down on the comments he made last week during an event in South Carolina, in which he said the way to win black voters is to offer “hope and aspiration” rather than telling them to “get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff.”
In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Bush reiterated, with little nuance, the essence of his earlier controversial comments.
“We need to make our case to African-American voters and to all voters that an aspiration message fixing a few complex things will allow people to rise up,” Bush said in the pre-taped interview which aired on Sunday morning. “That’s what people want. They don’t want free stuff. That was my point. The left argues all the time taking things out of context.”
The derisive assertion that black voters are looking for handouts is something of a tired trope used most recently by former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012, when he told an audience at an NAACP event that he would not be offering black voters “more free stuff.”
In her response on Monday, Clinton, who is maintaining a slim lead in the race to become the Democratic presidential nominee, struck an aggressive note, appealing to progressive forces that are still grappling with how best to address the Black Lives Matter movement and others who’ve called for a broad policy shift to affirm a black political agenda in America.
Clinton offered a biting indictment of Bush and the GOP’s agenda
“Republicans have no problem promising tax breaks and sweetheart deals to their corporate friends, but when Democrats fight to make sure all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care, early childhood education, and job training, that's giving away "free stuff"?! Talk about backwards,” Clinton said. “And that’s not all. I’m calling for an end to the era of mass incarceration, criminal justice reforms, and protecting voting rights, but Republicans across the country are making it harder to vote. That’s wrong and it’s got to change.”