Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton misrepresented her grandparents’ immigration status during a speech in Iowa – and that’s not the first time she did that.
BuzzFeed reported Clinton claimed all four of her grandparents had immigrated to the United States, despite the fact public census records show only one, her paternal grandfather, Hugh Rodham Sr., was born outside American, in England. She made the claim while telling a story that furthers the idea immigrants come to the United States for economic opportunity.
Her speech: “We are turning down people who really want to work. I mean, they are here to work. And a lot of them now have children who are American citizens and they are doing the best they can to try to make a good life for themselves and their families. And you know, I think if we were to just go around this room, there are a lot of immigrant stories. All my grandparents, you know, came over here and you know my grandfather went to work in a lace mill in Scranton, Pennsylvania and worked there until he retired at 65.”
She went on, describing the dreams of immigrants: “So I sit here and I think, well, you’re talking about the second, third generation. That’s me, that’s you. And we are saying to all these other people who want the same dreams and the same aspirations and the willingness to work hard just like our families did that no, we’re not going to make it easy for you, we’re not going to make it legal for you. And I just think that’s such a short term, unfortunate outcome for us and well as for you.”
Clinton was addressing a Capital City Fruit crowd in Norwalk, Iowa. And as BuzzFeed found, she made the same claim about her grandparents in a speech last year.
Official public records show Clinton’s paternal grandmother, Hanna Jones Rodham, was born in Pennsylvania in 1882; her maternal grandmother, Della Howell, born in Illinois in 1902; and her maternal grandfather, Edwin Howell, born in Illinois in 1918.
A spokesperson for Clinton said “her grandparents always spoke about the immigrant experience and, as a result, she has always thought of them as immigrants,” BuzzFeed reported.