GOP, industry backlash after Clinton’s coal comments

Republicans and the coal industry are lashing out at Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future Popping the progressive bubble MORE for the Democratic presidential hopeful’s prediction that her policies would put many coal companies and miners out of business.

Clinton made the comment Sunday at a CNN town hall event while promoting her plans to help coal communities recover from the drop in demand.


“I’m the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity — using clean, renewable energy as the key — into coal country. Because we're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business."

“We’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people,” she continued.

The blunt statement harkened back to President Obama’s declaration during the 2008 presidential campaign that under his preferred climate change policy — a cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide emissions — “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulFauci overwhelmed by calls after journal published mistake over beagle experiments McConnell looks for way out of debt ceiling box Senators make bipartisan push to block 0M weapons sale to Saudis MORE (R-Ky.), himself a presidential candidate until last month, quickly shot back at Clinton on Twitter, saying that she “said out loud what the national democrat party has been trying to do quietly for the past 8 years” and accusing her of joining Obama’s “war on coal and Kentucky.”

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE (R-Ky.), while not mentioning Clinton by name, spoke on the Senate floor of leading Democrats “boasting” about putting coal miners out of business.

“What they want is to provide for their families, but here’s how more Democrats seem to view these hard-working Americans and their families: just statistics, just the cost of doing business, just obstacles to their ideology,” he said. “This is callous. It is wrong. And it underlines the need to stand up for hard-working, middle-class coal families.”

The National Mining Association joined in.

Hal Quinn, the group’s president, said it is “surpassing strange and deeply troubling to hear prominent presidential candidates boast of their determination in office to destroy the livelihoods of tens of thousands of hard-working Americans.”

“By flippantly writing-off the well-being of countless coal miners, their families and all of those involved in the coal-based electricity industry, Secretary Clinton is showing Ohio’s voters her true colors ahead of tomorrow’s primary,” the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity agreed.

Clinton’s campaign defended the remarks and accused Republicans of trying to twist her words to show a disregard for coal workers.

“Obviously she was making the exact opposite point: that we have to take proactive steps to make sure coal workers, their families and their communities get not just the benefits they’ve earned, but also the future they deserve,” spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement.

“From fighting to protect retired miners' pensions to proposing new incentives to economically revitalize coal country, no candidate in this race is more devoted to supporting coal communities than Hillary Clinton,” he said.

Clinton outlined a $30 billion plan in November to try to revitalize coal-dependent communities and get jobs for former miners while increasing funding for carbon capture technology for coal plants, among other measures.