Clinton: Trump 'not qualified to be president.' Sad!

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. © Aaron P. Bernstein
Apparently “not qualified” is the insult of choice in the 2016 presidential campaign. The latest to lob the lack-of-experience grenade was Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, who took aim at presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

When Clinton was asked by CNN’s Chris Cuomo if she thought the billionaire businessman was qualified, she was blunt in her response.

“No, I do not,” she said.

“The threat that Donald Trump poses is so dramatic ‒ to our country, to our democracy, and to our economy,” Clinton said later.

She outlined her reasons why, using examples just from this past week: He’s “attacking Great Britain, praising the leader of North Korea ‒ a despotic dictator who has nuclear weapons,” she said.

“Whether it is saying [to] pull out of NATO [or to] let other countries have nuclear weapons, the kinds of positions he is stating and the consequences of those positions and even the consequences of his statements are not just offensive to people, they are potentially dangerous,” she added.

Clinton also described Trump’s positions as “irresponsible, reckless, dangerous comments.”

Clinton ‒ a former secretary of state, US senator and first lady ‒ touted her bona fides in the exclusive interview, while also reiterating Trump’s lack of experience.

“I know how hard this job is, and I know that we need steadiness as well as strength and smarts in it, and I have concluded he is not qualified to be president of the United States,” she said.

“Not qualified” has been bandied about in the Democratic primary race as well. Both Clinton and rival Bernie Sanders have used the phrase to attack each other.

In early April, the senator from Vermont suggested Clinton’s Wall Street backers made her unqualified to take presidential office.

“She has been saying lately that she thinks I am ‘not qualified’ to be president,” Sanders told a Philadelphia rally ahead of the Pennsylvania primary. “I don’t believe that she is qualified if she is – through her Super PAC – taking tens of millions of dollars in special interest funds.”

“I don’t think that you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street through your super PAC. I don’t think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in Iraq,” Sanders added.

In response, Clinton supporters created the #HillarySoQualified hashtag.

Social media being the way it is, the ploy quickly backfired, trending for all the wrong reasons as Sanders supporters hijacked the term to attack Clinton’s past stances on foreign policy, the email scandal and her foundation. Others joked that she was only qualified to work with Republicans on policies like war and destroying the environment.

While he was still in the presidential race, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had to battle against arguments that he was “not qualified” to hold the highest office in the land. The attack on him was a little different, however. He didn’t need to prove his qualifications to the court of public opinion, but rather to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

A Pittsburgh resident named Carmon Elliott filed a lawsuit in late February seeking to remove Cruz’s name from the ballot, claiming that the senator did not qualify to run, because he was born in Canada. Cruz was not a “natural born citizen” as required under the US Constitution, Elliott argued. In March, however, Pennsylvania’s highest court sided with Cruz.

In case you were wondering what the Constitution’s eligibility requirements entail, it’s quite simple, really:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

-Article II, Section I, Clause 5