A Michigan mother is furious that now-DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile sent Hillary Clinton advance notice of her question at a Democratic presidential debate in Flint, Michigan this March.
According to the latest Wikileaks release of John Podesta’s emails, Brazile tipped off Clinton to an incoming question from an audience member at the debate hosted by CNN — where Brazile was then a paid contributor.
“One of the questions directed to HRC tomorrow is from a woman with a rash,” Brazile wrote in the email’s subject line. “Her family has lead poison and she will ask what, if anything, will Hillary do as president to help the ppl of Flint.”
LeeAnne Walters, the woman who asked that question, said on her Facebook page Monday that she found the revelation “appalling.”
This is disgusting and appalling!!! This should be an automatic disqualification! You think she would have answered it better at the very least!
“This is disgusting and appalling!!! This should be an automatic disqualification!” Walters said. “You think she would have answered it better at the very least!”
In March, Walters asked Clinton and her primary rival Bernie Sanders if they would “make a personal promise” to “remove all lead service lines throughout the entire United States” from public water systems in their first 100 days as President. Moderator Anderson Cooper’s introduction mentioned Walters’ family’s troubles with lead poisoning.
After the debate, Walters told the Huffington Post that she found Clinton’s answer nauseating:
“I hated Hillary Clinton’s answer,” Walters, 38, told The Huffington Post on Monday. “It actually made me vomit in my mouth.”
Walters, an early whistleblower in the Flint water crisis, had asked whether as president, Clinton and the Vermont senator would promise to require public water systems in the United States to remove lead pipes.
Clinton and rival Bernie Sanders did not give direct answers. Instead, Clinton proposed getting rid of all lead sources, including paint and dust, within five years.
“We will commit to a priority to change the water systems and we will commit within five years to remove lead from everywhere,” Clinton said.
To Walters, five years is an unacceptable timeline.
“To tell a Flint resident that we’ll handle this in five years is no different than what the city was telling us and what the state was telling us,” Walters said.
Even with advance knowledge of Walters’ presence and her focus on lead poisoning, Clinton whiffed and failed to connect with the mother turned activist.
Walters’ Facebook complaint — particularly the concept of “automatic disqualification — echoes a statement from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Monday afternoon. After calling for the DNC to fire Brazile, Trump said to former college basketball coach Bobby Knight, “Could you imagine if I did that? Bobby, what would happen to me if I did that? Electric chair, I think. The electric chair.”
CNN officially severed its relationship with Brazile on Monday, saying in a statement: “We are completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor.”
This was the second time that a Wikileaks email purported to show her leaking debate questions to Clinton’s campaign. CNN insists that it did not share questions with Brazile and suggested that NewsOne’s Roland Martin was responsible — which seems to be corroborated by a new email where Brazile mentions Martin by name.
Brazile became Interim Chair of the Democratic National Committee after Debbie Wasserman Schultz stepped down in July, the week of the party’s national convention. Neither woman gaveled the convention, as both were shown in a trove of leaked DNC emails — also from Wikileaks — to have put their thumb on the scale for Clinton over Sanders during the presidential primary.
Walters, a mother of two, helped expose the cause of the Flint water crisis and spoke for Flint residents on Capitol Hill in February. She is the subject of an iconic photo from the Detroit Free Press illustrating the poor quality of her community’s tap water:
— Ian Gordon (@id_gordon) January 21, 2016
The Smithsonian announced Monday that she will receive an American Ingenuity Award in December.