A Brief History of Democratic Presidential Candidates’ Foreign Contact & Travel


“Democratic presidential candidates have a long history of foreign travel and contact, but it’s only a problem when a Republican does it. From John Kerry claiming to be showered with secret calls of support from foreign leaders to Hillary Clinton’s travel and so-called fundraising for the Clinton Foundation, it’s clear that Democrats can do whatever they want while President Trump will be held to a double standard.”

– David McIntosh, President, Club for Growth


Sec. John Kerry

“Speaking to supporters in Florida, the Massachusetts senator declared: ‘I’ve met foreign leaders who can’t go out and say this publicly, but boy they look at you and say, ‘You’ve got to win this, you’ve got to beat this guy, we need a new policy.’ Things like that.’” (The Guardian, 3/8/04)


Pres. Barack Obama

“Obama, like Romney, embarked on a foreign trip as a candidate, meeting face-to-face with leaders such as Afghan President Hamid Karzai, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (headline: “Obama Talks Tough About Iran During Visit to Israel”). But he also placed several phone calls. In January 2008, for example, Obama reached out to the two leaders at the center of a bitterly disputed election in Kenya, his father’s homeland.” (Foreign Policy, 9/29/12)

“Senator Barack Obama stood before a sea of people here [Berlin] Thursday evening and issued a call for cooperation, imploring America and Europe to bridge differences and rekindle old alliances in an effort to restore global stability and better confront existing and unforeseen threats.” (The New York Times, 7/25/08)

  • “A German diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the two sides had agreed to keep the meeting private, said the discussions with Mrs. Merkel went very successfully, saying: ‘They quickly found themselves on the same page. It was not superficial at all.’ The official said they spoke in English, and sat on a small sofa, rather than at the table, the more usual but also more formal setting for her discussions.”


Sec. Hillary Clinton

“The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.” (Washington Post, 10/24/17)

“Both Clinton and Trump met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi Monday, as the grueling presidential contest enters its final weeks. Clinton, who served for four years as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state, also met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.” (CNN, 9/20/16)

“More than 40 percent of the top donors to the Clinton family foundation are based in foreign countries, raising potential conflict-of-interest questions for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.” (McClatchy, 6/22/16)


Pres. Bill Clinton

“Hillary Clinton has been accused of giving donors to her family’s foundation special access to the government when she led the State Department — charges that echo a similar scandal from nearly 20 years ago, when President Bill Clinton was accused of ignoring U.S. national security to please a Democratic donor. In 1996, a U.S. company gave China vital technical information that boosted its missile program, an incident that Clinton’s own national security team said was a major mistake. But instead of punishing that company, Clinton rewarded it by approving the sale of another one of its satellites to China, and dismissed national security concerns as he took that step. The move was seen as controversial in no small part because the CEO of the company Clinton helped was a major donor to Clinton and other Democrats.” (Washington Examiner, 9/5/16)