By Nov. 9, the votes will have been cast and counted, there will be a winner and a loser, and the country will begin a slow return to normal. Historians will have their say on the outcome, but all of us who have lived through this election will carry away indelible memories of a shocking year in American history: of a handful of ordinary people, swept up in the rush of history; of a series of moments on which the fate of the nation seemed, at least briefly, to turn; and of places on the map that became symbols of a divided nation. As we count down to Election Day, Yahoo News has identified 16 unforgettable people, moments and places.
What did Hillary Clinton mean when she said, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business”?
To Bo Copley, a 39-year-old unemployed West Virginia coal miner, her remark at a CNN forum in March was a direct threat to his future livelihood, family and town. So when Clinton showed up to campaign in Williamson, he let her know how he felt:
“I just want to know how you can say you’re going to put a lot of coal miners out of jobs and then come in here and tell us how you’re gonna be our friend,” he said, sliding a picture of his three children across the table toward her — a moment captured by reporters that catapulted him to at least fleeting local fame. Months later, when Republican West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito held a hearing in October on “the devastating effects that EPA’s anti coal regulations are having on our state,” Copley was a star witness, describing the events leading up to his layoff as a maintenance planner and foreman at a subsidiary of the mining giant Arch Coal:
“With increasing regulations forcing other mines to close, we would see more and more inspectors on our job. At one point, we had 12 inspectors on our property on the same day. They told us they were all there that day because they had nowhere else to go … That would lead to more violations because of their interpretation of laws. More violations lead to higher cost per ton. Higher cost per ton leads to less profits. Less profits lead to job loss.”
It was a report from the trenches of what Republicans have been calling, since long before the campaign even began, the Obama administration’s “war on coal.” This was a message Donald Trump sought to reinforce at a rally in West Virginia by donning a miner’s hardhat and pretending to wield a shovel, violating a principle of campaigning dating back to 1988, when Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis was photographed in a tank turret, wearing a helmet that memorably reminded many observers of Snoopy: Never put anything weird on your head.
To Clinton, her remark was just a recognition of something that was happening already, and would continue, a result not just of environmental concerns but competition for coal from cheap natural gas. She apologized to Copley for her “misstatement”:
“What I was saying is that the way things are going now, we will continue to lose jobs. That’s what I meant to say and I think that seems to be supported by the facts.” As the media noted, she was actually making a point about the need to bring jobs back to Appalachia and support laid-off miners.
Copley, for his part, was unconvinced, telling reporters after the confrontation that he “would have liked to have heard more of what her plan is” for coal country. He could have read her plan, all 2,180 words of it, including job training, expanded broadband access, combatting drug abuse, and promoting the rich cultural heritage of Appalachia, here. But it probably wouldn’t have mattered; as he also told reporters, he was a Republican who would never support her anyway: “Coal is not the only priority,” he explained. “Her stance on abortion and other things are things I can’t get behind either.” — By Jerry Adler
Clinton says she misspoke with vow to put coal miners out of business
In a May roundtable with West Virginia voters, Hillary Clinton apologized and said she had worked for years to help workers. >>>
‘The mines will be gone’: Trump claims Clinton would destroy coal industry
“It is the last shot for the miners. That I know,” Donald Trump said in August. “And I’m not like a neutral for the miners. I’m not like, ‘Oh, well he’ll be all right.’ Hillary will be a horror show, and I’m going to be an unbelievable positive. But this is the last shot. The mines will be gone. The mines will be gone if she gets elected.” >>>
Facing backlash, Clinton says coal still has a future
Facing a backlash from Appalachian Democrats, Hillary Clinton’s campaign on Monday tried to reaffirm her commitment to coal communities one day after declaring on national television she was going to “to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” >>>
coal miner Bo Copley, who confronted Hillary Clinton the other day, gets heroes welcome at Trump rally here in Charleston WV
— Peter Doocy (@pdoocy) May 5, 2016
Here’s the photo that Bo Copley, the coal worker who confronted Clinton yesterday in Williamson, gave to her: https://t.co/OYV43bVpYV
— Hannah Chanpong (@hannahfc) May 3, 2016
Can you believe Crooked Hillary said, “We are going to put a whole lot of coal miners&coal companies out of business.” She then apologized.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 6, 2016
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