Trina Vargo, founder of a Washington, D.C., nonprofit dedicated to strengthening America-Ireland ties, and a veteran Democratic foreign policy adviser, wrote a book titled, “Shenanigans: the U.S.-Ireland Relationship in Uncertain Times,” and in it, slid this bombshell: Bill and Hillary Clinton, her former bosses, punished her for supporting Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential race. And oh yeah, they also used their high-ranking White House position to try and influence an outlet to give Chelsea Clinton’s boyfriend a cushy, coveted scholarship, Vargo said.
Then again, maybe these aren’t such bombshells. The Clintons’ use of politics for personal gain isn’t exactly stop-the-presses type of news.
Still, it’s interesting — in an “add to the list of Clinton offenses” type of way.
This is what Vargo wrote of in her book, as reported by the Guardian: Each year, the Mitchell scholarship, established by Vargo and named after former Sen. George Mitchell, a Democrat from Maine, awards a dozen students with the opportunity to study abroad in Ireland. Chelsea Clinton’s boyfriend, in 2000, was one of the hopeful applicants for this scholarship. But he didn’t even make the shortlist — even though he had a letter of recommendation from the White House. And the Clintons apparently weren’t happy. Mitchell, according to Vargo, received a somewhat terse telephone call from then-President Clinton.
“Vargo writes that in November 2000 Mitchell told her ‘with some uneasiness’ that Bill Clinton, then nearing the end of his time in the White House, had phoned him to say he was ‘very unhappy’ that Chelsea’s boyfriend had not been shortlisted from about 200 candidates,” the Guardian wrote.
Mitchell clarified to Vargo that Clinton hadn’t been specifically requesting the boyfriend’s name be added to the list — that he just wanted an explanation and clarification of the decision process.
Still, a phone call from the president requesting clarification or explanation carries deeper weight than most.
“It would be hard to believe that the timing of the president’s call wasn’t aimed at influencing us to make him a finalist,” Vargo wrote in her book, the Guardian reported.
Either way: Chelsea’s boyfriend stayed off the shortlist.
“[W]hich Vargo believes put her on a path to joining the Clintons’ ‘enemies list,’” the Guardian reported.
Now fast-forward to 2012.
The State Department, led then by Hillary Clinton, decreased its yearly $500,000 contribution to the Mitchell scholarship.
And maybe they are.
But then again, there’s this telling headline from Politico from January 2014: “Hillary’s Hit List: The Clintons keep a favor file of saints and sinners, according to this excerpt from [the book] HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton.” And here’s an excerpt from the book, posted by Politico: “There was a special circle of Clinton hell reserved for people who had endorsed Obama or stayed on the fence after Bill and Hillary had raised money for them, appointed them to a political post or written a recommendation to ice their kid’s application to an elite school.”
On forgiveness, on ‘oh, fuhgettabout it, let’s be friends,’ the Clintons aren’t exactly squeaky clean.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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