By: Chris White
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton believes an energy CEO who served a year in prison was popular in West Virginia than she was, according to a section from the Democrat’s recent book on the election.
Former disgraced Massey Energy CEO Don Blakenship was more liked in states that are traditionally dependent on coal production than the Clinton campaign, Clinton wrote in her new book “What Happened,” which gives a blow by blow of how she lost the presidential election.
“He was due to report to prison just days later, but he made time to come protest me first,” Clinton wrote, referring to Blakenship, a coal tycoon convicted of violating federal safety laws after the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.
Clinton pointed out that the coal tycoon spent his last days as a free man protesting her at a rally in West Virginia. Blakenship was released from prison in May of 2017, more than six months after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
She also appeared to suggest that supporters of then-presidential candidate Trump would’ve voted for Blakenship had he run for the White House against Clinton.
“Blakenship endangered his workers, undermined their union, and polluted their rivers and streams, all while making big profits and contributing millions to Republican candidates,” she wrote. “Instead he was welcomed by pro-Trump supporters, one of whom told a reporter that he’d vote for Blakenship for president if he ran.”
A jury convicted Blankenship, who ran Massey Energy from 2000 to 2010, last year for attempting to thwart safety rules culminating in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in 2010. The explosion killed 29 miners. A federal judge also fined Blankenship $250,000 for the misdemeanor charge.
Blankenship, who was a prominent Trump supporter during the election, said in a statement at the time of his conviction that he is “not guilty of a crime,” and told the families of those who died in the explosion that they were “great guys, great coal miners.”
Clinton also blamed the media in a separate section of her book for blowing out of proportion comments she made in Ohio suggesting her presidency would put coal miners out of business.
“It wasn’t the first time that happened during the 2016 election, and it wouldn’t be the last. But it is the one I regret the most.” Clinton wrote in a chapter titled “Country Roads,” which deals primarily with how she campaigned in Ohio and other states dependent on coal production.