For decades, the Right has attempted to discredit Hillary Clinton with attacks ranging from the disturbing (killing people) to the bizarre (killing cats). But after serving four years as Secretary of State, Clinton is leaving office with sky-high approval ratings. Before she steps down on Friday, we decided to look back on some of the most extreme and befuddling accusations she has faced from the far-right during her term as the nation’s top diplomat.
1. Clinton Engineered Benghazi Cover-Up
While the official report on the U.S. mission in Benghazi found multiple security and management breakdowns that Clinton had already taken responsibility for, many on the right claimed that she actually was behind a massive cover-up. Several Republican politicians and conservative commentators said that the Obama administration withheld military assistance while watching a live feed of the attack.
The State Department’s Accountability Review Board report debunked the right-wing conspiracy theories, but that didn’t stop Fox News and conservative talk show hosts from reporting them as fact and arguing that the administration used the attack in Benghazi to pass blasphemy laws protecting Islam.
As the Right’s claims about Benghazi continued to unravel, they shifted to baselessly asserting that the administration manufactured the Petraeus affair in order to preserve the alleged cover-up and that Clinton faked a concussion and blood clot to get out of testifying about the incident.
When she did testify, she faced redundant and ill-informed questions from Republicans like Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson, who skipped a classified briefing on the incident, and Kentucky senator Rand Paul, who admitted he had no proof to back up his claim that the Benghazi mission was used to send arms to Syrian rebels.
2. Clinton Supports the Muslim Brotherhood
Latching onto rumors that emerged on the far-right fringe, Rep. Michele Bachmann sought to spark a McCarthyite investigation that accused Clinton’s deputy chief of staff of acting as a Muslim Brotherhood spy. Bachmann insisted that “there has been deep penetration in the halls of our United States government by the Muslim Brotherhood,” and along with a handful of Republican colleagues, made allegations that Clinton aide Huma Abedin was working on behalf of the group.
Of course, Bachmann couldn’t substantiate her claims and literally ran away from a reporter when asked about them. Even Republican leaders criticized Bachmann for starting the witch hunt. But her unfounded claims took off in the conservative media, which was more than happy to paint Clinton and Obama as secret Islamist sympathizers, and eventually caused trouble overseas.
3. Clinton Loves Sharia
Anti-Clinton conspiracy theorists claim that her supposed Muslim Brotherhood sympathies have turned her into a covert advocate of Sharia law. Bachmann said that Clinton was working “to take away the free speech rights of the American people” and “our right of free speech and expression, religious practice, freedom of assembly, freedom of the printing press” in order to “empower the Islamists.”
Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy claimed that Clinton had accepted “submission to the stealthy Islamist effort to enforce in this country the supremacist doctrine known as shariah” and the Family Research Council’s Jerry Boykin said the administration had shown “support for the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into our government.” Rick Joyner, the televangelist who has worked closely with Gaffney and Boykin, was left wondering why Clinton was “advocating” Sharia:
4. LGBT Rights Advocacy Will Destroy America
While the Right’s Benghazi, Muslim Brotherhood and Sharia law claims didn’t hold water, they at least got one thing right: Clinton acted as a champion for LGBT equality while leading the State Department. The Religious Right fumed at her work on behalf of gay rights and exploded in anger following a speech in Geneva in which she defended the rights of LGBT people and called for the decriminalization of LGBT status.
Liberty University’s Mat Staver warned that Clinton was backing a “radical sexual anarchist agenda” while Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention said that Clinton’s support of “sexual paganization” would bring about God’s judgment on America. Pat Robertson reacted to Clinton’s speech by warning that God may destroy the U.S.
5. Clinton Opposes Religious Freedom
All of the conspiracy theories and accusations seem to come together in an attempt to smear Clinton as an enemy of religious freedom. Conservatives argued that she was using both gay rights and Sharia law to undercut Christianity and religious freedoms.
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins maintained that Clinton was trying to subvert the freedom of religion by using the term “freedom of worship,” even though the Obama administration frequently uses the phrase “freedom of religion” and President Bush talked about the “freedom of worship” without receiving a similar outcry from social conservatives.
At the Values Voters Summit, phony “ex-terrorist” Kamal Saleem even warned that Clinton was planning to “shut down” churches and synagogues this month. Since Clinton serves just one more day at the job, she better speed up with her diabolical plans!