A liberal journalist who has moderated forums hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative offered a brutal takedown of the organization on Friday, describing it as “creepy,” “disgusting” and “gross.”
Adam Davidson, who hosts a show for NPR and has written for New York Magazine, also said during an appearance on Slate’s “Political Gabfest” podcast, that the Bill and Hillary Clinton-controlled group’s events are “all about buying access.”
And later in the podcast, he said that the Clinton Foundation has made the Clintons “beholden to scumbags.”
Davidson’s harsh critique comes as Hillary Clinton faces accusations that her family charities are massive pay-for-play schemes. An AP investigation found that more than half of the private individuals Clinton met with as secretary of state were Clinton Foundation donors.The pressure over the apparent conflicts of interest forced the Clintons to pledge to start limiting who can donate to the Clinton Foundation and other affiliated groups if Hillary Clinton is elected president.
Davidson was relentless in his critique of the Clinton-controlled entities.
“And there is a real creepy vibe, to me, personally, at the Clinton Global Initiative,” Davidson said during the podcast, IJ Review notes.
“It seems, to me, that it is all about buying access. It is incredibly expensive just to go to the thing, it’s $100,000-something,” said Davidson, who has hosted CGI panels for several years, including last year.
Davidson, who noted that his comments mean that he is unlikely to be invited back as a moderator, said that CGI events are clearly segregated between the haves and have-nots.
“There’s sort of these explicit ways in which you get access,” he said. “You pay more money to get more access to political leaders and to really rich people and to big corporate leaders.
“There’s this kinda creepy theatre that happens where you have the CEO of Coca-Cola or IBM or whatever or GE up there with President Clinton and they’re just bathing each other in love over how generous and wonderful they are and how much they care about the world and all these, like, earnest people applauding and thrilled.”
“It just feels like the worst version of an elite selling access to the aspirational, creating this theatre of doing good, but it’s all about something else. It really feels gross,” Davidson continued.
Davidson also laid out the differences between the Clinton Global Initiative and the Clinton Foundation. They operate under the Clinton umbrella but have separate staffs and different cultures. But he was equally as harsh about the Clinton Foundation’s work.
The Clinton Foundation, the higher profile of the two, is “just a bunch of people congratulating each other on how awesome they are,” said Davidson.
He described how Clinton Foundation officials would compel him to fill his panels with heads of state of foreign governments who were promised a slot but “literally have nothing to say.”
“Yes! It’s disgusting,” Davidson lamented.
“If you are planning…to run for president…don’t set up a foundation where you are beholden to scumbags from other countries. That’s ridiculous. And if you are secretary of state tell your husband not to do business with them.”
He also said that the Clinton Foundation’s work is “not in the top tier.”