For the past several weeks, Hillary Clinton has tried to extend a gracious welcome to any and all Republicans rightly disgusted by the prospect of a President Donald Trump. In the case of one very famous Republican, however, the outreach has been going on for much longer. For years, Clinton has spoken warmly and admiringly of Henry Kissinger, a man whose record around the world displayed a special disregard for human rights, the rule of law, and basic decency.
On Monday, an article in Politico detailed the Clinton campaign’s attempt to woo GOP foreign policy “elders,” including Condoleezza Rice, James Baker, and Kissinger. Later in the day, the New York Times reported that 50 Republican former national security officials had signed a letter essentially saying Donald Trump was unfit to be commander-in-chief. Kissinger, Baker, Colin Powell, and others were not on this list, sparking speculation about whether an even higher profile repudiation of Trump is in the offing.
There’s nothing wrong with the Clinton campaign making its case to Republicans wary of their party’s nominee; the continued defections from the party establishment are a damning blow for Trump. When it comes to Kissinger, however, Clinton should know better. Yet rather than distance herself, Clinton has wooed him with unrestrained enthusiasm. She has often spoken of his wisdom and the value of his “insight” and “expertise.” She reviewed one in the seemingly endless supply of his books with fulsome words of praise. (A taste: “Kissinger is a friend, and I relied on his counsel when I served as secretary of state. He checked in with me regularly, sharing astute observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his travels.”) She defended him in a debate with Bernie Sanders during which the latter attacked Kissinger’s record on foreign policy. She has even chosen to spend holidays with him. Team Clinton likes to talk of a special bond among the men and women who have held the position of secretary of state.
Read more at Slate.