WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton promised to work to overcome a lack of trust by most Americans, including Latino voters who feel Democrats take them for granted, in her first news conference in months held Friday at a minority journalists’ convention.
But Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president, raised questions again when she sought to defend her disputed claim in a Fox News interview last Sunday that FBI Director James Comey has said she told the truth about her emails.
“I have said during the interview and in many other occasions over the past months that what I told the FBI [in a private interview], which he said was truthful, is consistent with what I said publicly,” Clinton said. “So I may have short circuited it and for that I will try to clarify.”
Comey testified before Congress that Clinton did not lie in her FBI interview but declined to characterize her public statements. Clinton has said her emails didn’t include classified documents. But Comey said three were marked classified and more than 113 contained classified information.
“Hillary Clinton is once again proving herself incapable of telling the truth to the nation,” said Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee chairman.
Clinton faced a receptive audience, but tough questions, in a 45-minute appearance at a conference of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump declined an invitation to speak.
“Now more than ever we need you to keep holding leaders and candidates accountable,” she said.
After being pressed to say if she’ll live up to Democrats’ promises to pass comprehensive immigration reform or take Latino voters for granted as in 2008 and 2012, Clinton said she takes Hispanics “seriously” and will make immigration overhaul a priority.
“We will be prepared to introduce legislation as quickly as we can do so,” Clinton said.
Asked about the language and actions by some of Trump’s supporters, she said, “I’m not going to speak for everyone who supports him because I think there have been some quite disgusting statements coming out of his rallies.”
But she added, “I think the core of his support really centers on the disappointment in the economy that so many Americans feel ... I want to bring this country together.”
Clinton acknowledged her high negative ratings and said, “I recognize I have work to do.”
To overcome distrust, Clinton said she would work to produce results as she did in her two terms as a U.S. senator from New York senator, and as secretary of state, when she had a 66 percent approval rating.
“Every time I have done a job, people have counted on me and trusted me,” Clinton said.
But she also blamed political foes, saying, “Maybe when I’m actually running for a job there is a real benefit to those on the other side in trying to stir up as much concern as possible.”