Hillary Clinton came under a barrage of criticism Friday for her erroneous remarks, praising the late First Lady Nancy Reagan for her nonexistent AIDS advocacy — but support for the embattled Democratic candidate came from an unlikely corner: conservatives who said the truth should be relaxed on this day of mourning.
Clinton attended Nancy Reagan’s funeral, and remarked subsequently that the former First Lady had been a “very effective, low-key” advocate for HIV and AIDS. As many pointed out, the Reagan administration was notoriously remiss in addressing or even acknowledging the existence of the AIDS epidemic for years (and Nancy was no exception). Clinton was forced to retract and apologize for the comments.
“I misspoke on their record on HIV and AIDS. For that, I apologize,” Clinton said.
Hillary Clinton chided for praising the Reagans’ AIDS role: pic.twitter.com/42h1SLms3J
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 11, 2016
Many who excoriated her for the remarks were not impressed:
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 11, 2016
— Derek Bowler (@BowlerDerek) March 11, 2016
— Chely Wright (@chelywright) March 11, 2016
I respect everyone’s choice – unless you’re voting for Trump – but after these comments I cannot support Hillary Clinton for President.
— Jermaine Spradley (@MrSpradley) March 11, 2016
But if liberals were not placated by the mea culpa, support for Clinton came from conservative commentators happy to overlook Nancy Reagan’s record if it got in the way of saying nice things about her.
Fox’s Bret Baier characterized the incident as an example of spiteful liberals blasting Clinton for having praised the former First Lady on the day of her funeral. Clinton, he said, had been forced into “apologizing to her base for complimenting Nancy Reagan,” and did not mention that the “compliment” in this case grossly misrepresented Reagan’s record.
“Pretty remarkable,” Fox’s Ed Henry concurred, and argued that Clinton “did a nice thing” by attending the funeral and “prais[ing] the Reagans for raising AIDS awareness.”
The comments, he said, “raised objections from liberals,” without mentioning that they also raised objections from fact-checkers.
Clinton retracted the remarks because “there was so much pressure from the left,” Henry said — neglecting to mention that the remarks were also untrue. “Normally on the day of a funeral, you’d think something like that might just pass,” Henry said.
“We hear about the Republicans caving to the right-wing,” Henry concluded. “This is an example of a Democratic presidential candidate caving to the left-wing.” Yes, and caving to the historical record.
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