Thursday, October 20, 2016
Clinton, Trump, and their Greek Connections: Who’s Better for Greece?
Philip Chrysopoulos -
Oct 19, 2016
us_debateMany Greek-Americans have taken a stance for or against the two presidential candidates who are battling it out again on Wednesday. However Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have not said much about Greece and their stand regarding the Greek crisis, the overall role of the country on the global stage as well as some of the so called Greek issues including the Macedonia name dispute with FYROM, as well as Greek-Turkish relations.
In fact, the last time Donald Trump spoke about Greece was on July 1st, 2015, when the Greek government was still in negotiations with creditors over the third bailout. Speaking on Fox News, the Republican presidential candidate said that the US should not get “too involved” in the Greek debt issue.
“I would stay back a little bit, I wouldn’t get too involved,” he replied when asked what he would do if he were president. “We get too involved with other things I mean, I would definitely stay back,” he said.
“We have enough problems, let Germany handle it… Putin probably comes in to save the day, if Germany doesn’t,” he added.
Hillary Clinton, who also hasn’t spoken recently on the subject has appeared to care a bit more about Greece and have a formulated opinion, however during her term as Secretary of State did not offer much tangible help to Greece. Speaking at an event in Iowa in 2015 the Democratic presidential candidate called the Greek crisis “a tragedy”.
“Greece is a NATO ally and a European Union member, and the U.S. has a great, active, successful Greek-American community, so I want to see a resolution,” Clinton said. “Obviously, at the end of the day, it is up to the Greek people to decide what they are willing to do, and I hope that we can see an outcome here that will actually help Greece recover and keep them in the euro zone,” she continued.
Eleni Kounalakis, an active Greek-American who also served as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and now has assumed the role of foreign policy advisor in the “Hillary for America” campaign has a lot more to say about Clinton’s views on Greece:
“Hillary Clinton knows Greece. She’s spent quite a bit of time there since the time she was First Lady. She has very deep and broad relationships with the Greek-American Community. She’s been to our Patriarchate. She brought her husband there, the first sitting U.S. President ever to visit the Patriarchate,” Kounalakis said.
“This has to do with her relationships but it also has to do with her perspective… She has shown her respect and adoration for Greece and her belief in the importance of stability of Greece. The economic stability and of course the security of Greece,” she added.
The Greek advisor to the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, Christos Marafatsos, says that the majority of the Greek American community supports Donald Trump exactly because does not offer words of sympathy but action. Marafatsos believes that the Republican candidate will actually take a pro-Greece stance and push the IMF and the EU to offer Greece a much needed debt relief.
“He truly cares for Greece,” says the young Greek-American who is the face for Greeks for Trump and helps the Trump campaign to reach out to Americans of Greek descent.
“We don’t need anybody’s sympathy, but action, we are proud for what we have achieved in the States” said Marafatsos during an event in Nevada referring to Clinton’s stance on Greece.
But how easy is to defend one of the most controversial candidates in the history of the US? Marafatsos says that Trump has made mistakes like anybody else would during a Presidential campaign.
“I believe that if he makes a mistake he offers an apology and accepts responsibility,” this is the kind of President I would want.”
Watch our interview with the chief of Greeks4Trump below:
Both Greek American political advisors agree though on one thing: The Greek community can play a significant role in this election, given that as many Greek Americans as possible get out and vote no matter what party they support.