Clinton does little to dampen 2020 speculation

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCohen once teased Hillary Clinton about going to prison. Now he's been sentenced to 36 months The Hill's 12:30 Report — Cohen gets three years in prison | Fallout from Oval Office clash | House GOP eyes vote on B for wall Contest offers 'Broadway play and chardonnay' with Clinton MORE is increasingly weighing in on critical political events, keeping her name in the news and doing little to dampen speculation that she might once again run for president.

While Clinton associates insist the 2016 Democratic nominee is not running again, she has refused to rule out the possibility herself in interviews.

“Actually Frank, I am thinking about standing for Parliament here in Canada,” Clinton told Frank McKenna, the former Canadian ambassador to the U.S., after he asked her this week if she would run for president in 2020. 

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Just a month ago, Clinton said that she would “like to be president” after she was asked if she would launch another White House bid. 

Clinton loyalists say the former first lady, senator and secretary of State is a political heavyweight whose voice should be heard in policy debates.

But they also wish she wouldn’t be quite such a frequent presence on the national stage and are largely dismissive of speculation that Clinton might be considering a third presidential bid. 

“Her supporters love her and we always will, but she won't run and she shouldn't,” said one former Clinton aide. “She's less popular than Trump and all her negatives are still there. Her campaign was awful. She would have been an amazing president, and it was all incredibly unfair, but none of that will change in 2020.” 

Democratic strategist Jim Manley, who served as a Clinton campaign surrogate in 2016, said she needs to step aside. 

“With all due respect, she had her chance and it didn't work out,” Manley said. “She ran such a lousy campaign Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpActivists highlight Trump ties to foreign autocrats in hotel light display Jose Canseco pitches Trump for chief of staff: ‘Worried about you looking more like a Twinkie everyday’ Dershowitz: Mueller's report will contain 'sins' but no 'impeachable offense' MORE is now the president of the United States. I have a lot of respect for her, but she had her chance and it didn't work out.”

If Clinton does run again, she’ll be faced with at least two dozen competitors at a time when the party has tacked increasingly to the left, one reason many of her allies are convinced she won’t run.  

But Clinton continues to make headlines each time she makes an appearance, fueling speculation that she’s still considering a run.

Earlier this month, Clinton set off chatter — and criticism from the left — when in an interview she said that Europe should “get a handle” on immigration to counter a rise in right-wing populism.

She told The Guardian that migration “is what lit the flame” for Brexit, the referendum in which Great Britain decided to leave the European Union. Her comments ran counter to the progressive immigration platform she ran in her 2016 campaign against Trump, who touted his "America First" views and the building of a wall on the Mexican border. 

“I admire the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken, particularly by leaders like Angela Merkel,” Clinton said, referring to the German chancellor’s open immigration policies. 

At the same time, she continued, “I think it’s fair to say Europe has done its part, and must send a very clear message, ‘We are not going to be able to continue to provide refuge and support,’ because if we don’t deal with the migration issue, it will continue to roil the body politic.” 

On the 13-city paid speaking tour with her husband, former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonContest offers 'Broadway play and chardonnay' with Clinton Jared Kushner: The White House’s results-driven tactician California dreamin’ in the 2020 presidential race MORE, the former Democratic nominee has also weighed in on other news-of-the-day items, a platform that keeps her rivalry with Trump going more than two years after the end of the brutal 2016 race. 

At a stop in Toronto, she said Trump is working with the Saudi royal family to cover up the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“We have a president who is part of the cover up as to what happened in that consulate or embassy where Mr. Khashoggi was murdered, and we have a president and those closest to him who have their own personal commercial interests,” she said, according to CNN. “What we don’t know is how much commercial interest both the president’s family and business and his son-in-law’s family and business have with the kingdom.” 

She and her husband also weighed in on Trump’s fight with retired Adm. William McCraven, a former Navy SEAL who led the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

“I mean, I’ve never, ever imagined that you would have a president personally attacking people who put their lives on the line year after year after year, for no cause,” she said.  

Trump has returned fire on Clinton, using her as a foil and frequently turning to her on Twitter and at his campaign-style rallies, with the aim of revving up his base. 

On Wednesday, he took to Twitter to retweet three Clinton-related tweets, including one that said, “I’m thankful for every day Hillary Clinton is not President.” 

Even those who worked on the campaign and longtime Clinton allies have been left wondering why the Clintons are on the speaking circuit. “Stupid tour,” one longtime ally dubbed it. 

But some Clinton allies say she deserves to weigh in on issues because of her place in history. 

“I don’t understand the wisdom of telling a woman who has made history in our party and in the country to get off the stage,” said Basil Smikle, a Democratic strategist and former aide to Clinton. “Assuming the campaign learns from its missteps, she’d be fine.”

As Clinton continues to make headlines, those close to her say she is not going to run for president again. 

“She’s more likely to win Powerball,” Philippe Reines, Clinton’s longtime adviser, told The Hill last month. 

When another longtime adviser was asked if Clinton would run again in a text message, the adviser responded, “LOL,” the acronym for laughing out loud.