Speaking at a town hall in March, Clinton underlined her opposition to coal and other fossil fuels by declaring, “[W]e’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
Clinton went on to talk about replacing coal companies with clean energy ones, and insisted that she won’t let people put out of work suffer. But that didn’t stop an almost immediate backlash. Clinton walked back the comments quickly, claiming that she was talking about how to replace a coal industry that’s already in decline.
But on Monday, at a campaign stop in West Virginia, Clinton was confronted by an emotional out-of-work coal miner who questioned her commitment to coal country. Clinton’s response, which you can watch here, is in many ways vintage Clinton—she danced around the issue without quite taking responsibility for the “misstatement” that was “taken out of context.”
“What I was saying is that the way things are going now, we will continue to lose jobs,” she said. “It didn’t mean that we were going to do it. What I said is that it’s going to happen unless we take action to help prevent it.” This is notably not what she said at that town hall, though it seems to hew closer to her actual position. But Clinton wants to have it both ways, appeasing coal miners and clean energy voters alike, a strategy that is likely to end up alienating both.