During a round table in West Virginia, a recently unemployed coal worker confronted Hillary Clinton over her remark at a CNN town hall in March that “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” In response, Clinton admitted her comment was a “misstatement.”
“How you could say you are going to put a lot of coal miners out of jobs and then come in here and tell us how you’re going to be our friend?” the man, Bo Copley, asked during the round table Monday.
“I don’t know how to explain it other than what I said was totally out of context for what I meant because I have been talking about helping coal country for a very long time,” the former secretary of state said in reply. “It was a misstatement because what I was saying is the way things are going now, they will continue to lose jobs. It didn’t mean that we were going to do it. What I said is that is going to happen unless we take action to help and prevent it.”
“Now I can’t take it back, and I certainly can’t get people who, for political reasons or personal reasons, very painful reasons, are upset with me,” she continued. “What I want you to know is I’m going to do everything I can to help, no matter what happens politically.”
Fossil fuel interests have long sought to portray President Obama and Hillary Clinton as waging a “war on coal.” And while Clinton does support the president’s Clean Power Plan, Senator Bernie Sanders has been even more aggressive in advocating for alternative energy sources.
Despite this, and despite the fact that Clinton’s own energy policy proposal includes a ton of money to be spent on revitalizing communities impacted by the decline in coal production, the Democratic frontrunner has lagged in Appalachia.
“I do feel a little bit sad and sorry that I gave folks the reason, or the excuse, to be so upset with me, because that is not what I intended at all,” Clinton said.