Labor's Trumka: Hillary Clinton is 'very, very qualified to be president'
August 28th, 2014
10:57 AM ET
4 months ago

Labor's Trumka: Hillary Clinton is 'very, very qualified to be president'

Washington (CNN) - Richard Trumka is not ready to endorse Hillary Clinton for president in 2016. But that may be because, as he says, "there is no there, there."

At a breakfast with journalists on Thursday, the labor icon and president of the AFL-CIO spoke highly of Clinton, the former secretary of state and favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, but he did raise some questions that he hopes Clinton will answer if she runs.

"I think that Hillary did an excellent job as secretary of state. I think she is very, very qualified to be president," Trumka said at the breakfast, which was hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. "We watch every single day. And my thoughts are it is too early to say. There is no there, there yet."

Despite being laudatory, Trumka's comments should not be seen as an early endorsement of Clinton.

"Would I say she is the favorite now? Yes," he said. "But I think anytime anybody believes there is going to be a coronation, that is dangerous for the candidate."

The AFL-CIO recently came to an agreement with all its member unions that "no one will endorse [in 2016] until we say all of us are going to endorse," Trumka said. Before doing that, the group wants to know where candidates stand on raising the minimum wage, tax code reform and trade issues.

Trumka said his group will be questioning all presidential candidates in order to make their endorsement and will be looking in particular at the candidates’ economic advisers.

"One of our biggest concerns is who the candidates economic team is," he said. "If you get the same economic team, you are going to get the same results and the same results aren't good enough for working people."

Support for The North American Free Trade Agreement, an agreement signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1993, was among the top issues Trumka said his group would look at as a negative.

Also on that list were support for "tax codes that favor sending jobs oversees" and "people who think Wall Street are the be-all and end-all."

The AFL-CIO did not endorse Clinton when she ran for president in 2008, but the group waited until the primary was nearly over to back her Democratic challenger, then-Sen. Barack Obama. Other unions were split between the candidates during the contentious primary.

Earlier this month, AFL-CIO Political Director Mike Podhorzer told reporters that the group was withholding judgment on Clinton for now, according to The Hill.

Clinton was not the only possible 2016 contender that Trumka spoke highly of, however. The labor leader also said Sen. Elizabeth Warren was one of the labor's most supportive friends in the Senate.


Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton • Richard Trumka
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. not so dumbed down

    They've all but taste tested her stool samples, I think she's good to go, not my first choice but when sacrificing my social security, and Medicaid I've paid into for a very long time, is the other option, makes the decision simple.

    August 28, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. HenryMiller

    Of all the endorsements to be avoided at all costs, one by Richard Trumka is near the top of the list.

    August 28, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. Gurgyl

    Yes, on Hillary16.
    PS: I am still laughing when Mittens name popped up.

    August 28, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Time for unions to fight back against the GOP elite who have been screwing the middle class since Saint Ronnie was President.

    August 28, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  5. Gunderson

    Whazzat Trumpka?,
    You want to know what the Government will do for you? Well you now have "Obama Care" What, it's killing your Unions and is too high. Well ,you can support repealing it, or live with it. Raising the minimum wage? Sure. More pay less workers What else?, Oh, bring jobs back to America? Well that's a job even Superman isn't cut out to do. I know, life's a bitch.

    There was once a young man that went a Fortune Teller. He asked what his life had in store. After a bit of thought, the Fortune Teller told him the first 40 years of his life would be filled with disaster. Well, he asked the Fortune Teller, what about after that?
    Well the Fortune Teller said, "By that time you should be used to it.........

    August 28, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Lily

    I also understand that Hillary is best qualified to be "President". She should also understand that not only the qualifications will bring her there, BUT she also needs the votes. She can bash the current President as much as the wishes, BUT she should understand that she is pulling aside many and many votes she needs to put her to the top.

    August 28, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. Sniffit

    "Well the Fortune Teller said, "By that time you should be used to it........."

    Indeed. Pretty much explains the GOP/Teatrolls' efforts to induce Stockholm Syndrome in the middle-class by taking the country hostage to prolong and intensify the pain and then telling us that we don't get it back unless we vote for them.

    August 28, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  8. Silence DoGood

    The GOP / TP wants to turn labor workers into corporate slaves without benefits or healthcare.
    Anyone the Dems put up will be better for labor.

    August 28, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. CALIFORNIA

    And this surprises WHO?!?!?!?!

    Is this really NEWS?!?!?!

    August 28, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. tomdavie

    In my opinion, this piece is about a Labor leader who sees the writing on the wall and wants to be out ahead of it .

    August 28, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. not so dumbed down

    CALIFORNIA, I know right, those pesky workers rights nuts, don't they know regulations are yo be used to force the gop ideology down our throats, unions, who needs. them, especially this day and age, when, the Koch brothers clearly have their best interests at heart.

    August 28, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. Hillary Clinton: Butcher of Benghazi

    I think that Hillary did an excellent job as secretary of state.
    --

    The four Americans she got killed in Benghazi would beg to differ. But she did concoct the lie about the video to try and save her and Obama. And the Russian Reset? Another disaster. Middle East? Iran?? One on fire and the other continuing nuke development. Her accomplishments? NOTHING, other than a 4 year taxpayer funded world vacation tour.

    August 28, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. not so dumbed down

    Gulp gulp, you should have taken the red pill.

    August 28, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. just asking

    i'm sure he wants to know if hillary clinton will grant unions obamacare exemptions for their luxury healthcare plans that will be heavily taxed. while the rest of us get the screws put to us.

    August 28, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. Lizzie

    Silence DoGood
    The GOP / TP wants to turn labor workers into corporate slaves without benefits or healthcare.
    Anyone the Dems put up will be better for labor.
    -democrats turn workers into couch potatos with paid benefits and healthcare, curtesy of those who still have a job.
    --not so dumbed down, oh yes, President Clinton robs the last few cents of SS to balance ONE budget, Pres.Obama takes $500 BILLION from Medicare, for ACA, but democrats are better than the republicans in your view.

    August 28, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  16. Dean

    A socialist endorsing a socialist...who cares.

    August 28, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  17. it must be asked

    Just more of the same. Another Democrat special interest group that gives the Democrats untold millions that they steal from their members, looking for more special treatment, exemptions and favors. Trumpka, one of the puppet masters of the Democrat Party.

    August 28, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  18. not so dumbed down

    Lmao, thanks for the benghazi, I thought I might not get to hear it, fyi, it reeks of desperation. If, with all the available information, and video, your pathetic little mind came to that conclusion, speaks volumes, none of it good. And I suppose gw and Cheney are your hero's, again, says alot, 4500 killed making them and their friends filthy rich, but you wrap your juvenile mind around that connection, two oil men got elected(?), and within the year, were at war, w bragged about leaving office the richest in history, done, nice, sad your incapable of accepting the truth, when it doesn't align with your wishes, perfect Republican I must say.

    August 28, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  19. smith

    The AFL-CIO approves of Clinton, Im shocked. These crooks take a chunk from their members paycheck then claim to fight for their members well being. They"ll fight and then tell you the bad news that you only get a five cent raise. The AFL-CIO is nothing but a Democrat lobby group.

    August 28, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    "democrats turn workers into couch potatos with paid benefits and healthcare, curtesy of those who still have a job."

    LOL. I haven't watched FOX in a decade or so, but please tell me that surely even the mighty Sean Hannity doesn't go this far in his drivel of talking point nonsense?

    August 28, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. Reality Check

    not so dumbed down
    CALIFORNIA, I know right, those pesky workers rights nuts, don't they know regulations are yo be used to force the gop ideology down our throats, unions, who needs. them, especially this day and age, when, the Koch brothers clearly have their best interests at heart.
    --–

    Koch Industries employs 100,000 people world wide with 60,000 in the USA alone. Sure looks like people like working for them. You don't run a 100,000 person company world wide without paying good money for top talent. But I'm sure you think all of them would be much better off on the government dole, collecting food stamps.

    Lefties live in some bizarre alternate universe with very little in common with life here on Earth.

    August 28, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Say WHAT???

    not so dumbed down
    CALIFORNIA, I know right, those pesky workers rights nuts, don't they know regulations are yo be used to force the gop ideology down our throats, unions, who needs. them, especially this day and age, when, the Koch brothers clearly have their best interests at heart.
    --–

    Democrat hero Bill Clinton signed NAFTA. You must have a hard time rationalizing that one huh?

    August 28, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. excuse my rant

    Reality Check
    not so dumbed down
    CALIFORNIA, I know right, those pesky workers rights nuts, don't they know regulations are yo be used to force the gop ideology down our throats, unions, who needs. them, especially this day and age, when, the Koch brothers clearly have their best interests at heart.
    ––

    Koch Industries employs 100,000 people world wide with 60,000 in the USA alone. Sure looks like people like working for them. You don't run a 100,000 person company world wide without paying good money for top talent. But I'm sure you think all of them would be much better off on the government dole, collecting food stamps.

    Lefties live in some bizarre alternate universe with very little in common with life here on Earth.
    __________________________________
    If people like working for them so much they certainly wouldn't mind taking a big pay cut to help the bottom line. The Koch's really ought to do that if they had any business sense. That's just wasted profit paying someone more than they'd be willing to work for.

    August 28, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. not so dumbed down

    Tell me where I said anything remotely close to that, I merely suggested some may not like working for them, much like unions, it is voluntary . I wouldn't work for a person who told me how to vote and threatened my job over it. It must be asked, you sound even dumber under that name. You see, I am top talent, in my field and unless you belong to a union, how would you know?

    August 28, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. Tony D

    Democrat Party & unions. Both vast criminal enterprises. The new face of the mafia. Take your money for their own purposes, force you to buy something, disregard the Constitution and the role of Congress. and then use their Guido called the IRS to attack, harass and intimidate you if you got a problem with what they are doing.

    August 28, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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