ABC News(NEW YORK) — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump Tuesday accused Bill and Hillary Clinton and their foundation of having “ripped off Haiti,” as they sought to guide the reconstruction after the devastating 2010 earthquake there.
“Folks, there has never been anything like this, what’s gone on here,” Trump said to a crowd in Panama City, Florida. “Today as Haiti’s death toll from Hurricane Matthew is on the rise, we should never forget how Bill and Hillary Clinton handled Haiti the last time out.”
Trump’s remarks came hours after an ABC News investigation revealed a series of email exchanges between the U.S. Department of State and top Clinton Foundation officials during the hours after the massive 2010 Haiti earthquake. In the emails, a senior aide to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly gave special attention to those identified by the abbreviations “FOB” (friends of Bill Clinton) or “WJC VIPs” (William Jefferson Clinton VIPs).
“Need you to flag when people are friends of WJC,” wrote Caitlin Klevorick, then a senior State Department official who was juggling incoming offers of assistance being funneled to the State Department by the Clinton Foundation. “Most I can probably ID but not all.”
Klevorick and Amitabh Desai, the director of foreign policy for the Clinton Foundation, exchanged dozens of emails, which were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the Republican National Committee and then shared with ABC News. ABC News independently authenticated the emails.
The new emails have surfaced as the Clinton Foundation has once again mobilized a response to the latest humanitarian crisis in Haiti — the death and destruction following Hurricane Matthew. That effort is part of an ongoing commitment by the Clintons to deliver aid to the Haitian people dating back nearly a decade.
Clinton Foundation officials wrote a nine-page letter to ABC News touting the organization’s Haiti work. In it, the foundation’s chairman, Bruce Lindsey, issued a statement saying, “As a philanthropic organization, the Clinton Foundation’s work in Haiti has only one goal: to help the people of Haiti.”
Clinton Foundation Statement to ABC News
Bill Clinton’s spokesman, Angel Urena, posted a dismissive note on Twitter Tuesday, saying: “BREAKING: WJC & GHWB [George H.W. Bush] called for help after the catastrophic quake in Haiti and lots, friends included, responded.”
The correspondence offers a glimpse into the first stages of a $10 billion Haiti recovery effort. The emails appear to show a State Department process that at times prioritized — and, some argue, benefited — people with close ties to the Clintons.
State Department spokesman John Kirby told ABC News the emails “show State Department employees working across agencies and organizations, including President Clinton’s aides, to identify potential resources, solve problems and achieve the department and the U.N.’s shared goal of helping Haiti.”
In his speech Tuesday, Trump appealed, in particular, to the large number of Haitian-American’s in the section of Florida known as Little Haiti.
“To all of our friends in Haiti, and in Little Haiti, your day of justice is coming,” he said. “And it arrives on November 8.”
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