Right-wing media figures attacked Hillary Clinton for saying that she always carries hot sauce with her during an interview with a New York hip-hop radio show, attacking her for “pandering” and “casual racism.” But Salon reports that Clinton “has been talking about carrying hot sauce since 2008,” and various outlets over the years have reported that Clinton “packed pepper sauce” in her bag and had “a collection of more than 100 hot sauces” when she was first lady.
Hillary Clinton Says She Carries Hot Sauce With Her
Hillary Clinton Tells Radio Show The Breakfast Club She Always Carries Hot Sauce. During an April 18 interview with The Breakfast Club, a syndicated hip-hop radio show based in New York City, Hillary Clinton answered “hot sauce” when asked to share something she always carries. The Washington Post noted that the answer could have been “an innocent -- and perfectly timed -- admission. Or a well-planned reference to what has become a viral line from Beyonce’s newest song Formation: ‘I got hot sauce in my bag, swag’”:
Before they called it a day, Angela Yee had one more question for Clinton.
Angela [Yee]: “What’s something that you always carry with you?”
[Hillary] Clinton: “Hot sauce ...”
DJ Envy: “Really?”
For those unfamiliar, Clinton's answer might have been an innocent — and perfectly timed — admission. Or a well-planned reference to what has become a viral line from Beyonce's newest song “Formation”: “I got hot sauce in my bag, swag.”
Clinton is a well-known lover of hot things. She has been known to munch on hot jalapeno peppers like “potato chips” and as first lady, she had a collection of more than 100 hot sauces.
Either way, the answer seemed to floor Charlamagne.
Charlamagne: “You getting that formation right now?”
Clinton: “Hot sauce …”
Charlamagne: “Hot sauce in my bag, swag.”
Clinton: “Hot sauce.”
Charlamagne: “What? Really ...”
“Now, I just want you to know people are going to see this and say ‘okay, she’s pandering to black people.'”
Clinton: “Okay, is it working?”
They all laughed. [The Washington Post, 4/18/16]
Right-Wing Media Mock Clinton, Calling Her Answer “Pandering” “Racism”
Rush Limbaugh: “Total Pandering” From Clinton. During the April 18 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show, host Rush Limbaugh said the reason Clinton said she carried hot sauce is because “Beyonce has a new song out called Formation,” calling Clinton’s answer “total pandering.” Limbaugh reasoned that Clinton must have thought, "Well, if Beyonce sang it, that means most African-Americans probably not only know it, but they’ve also got hot sauce in their bags. And therefore, she’s going to say she’s got hot sauce in her bag”:
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Hillary Clinton told a black – now this matters, normally you see the opening of a story, “Hillary Clinton told a black radio host” -- what would it matter? Why would that matter? Well here’s the rest of the sentence: “that she always carries hot sauce with her.” Now how many of you knew that that was a big deal? What is -- that Hillary’s trying to score points by bragging that she's always carrying hot sauce with her in her purse. It is. It’s a total stereotype, it's a total stereo that they are given credit for, for being able to relate to because they have compassion, they have caring, they understand. During an interview with the program called The Breakfast Club -- you ever heard of it? OK, I haven’t either. No big deal, just haven’t heard of it. The host, the black host by the name of Angela Yee, starting to get real confused now. During an interview with The Breakfast Club Monday morning, black host Angela Yee asked the Democrat candidate what she always carries in her purse. What is she always -- why would you ask somebody that? Why would you ask? I don’t care -- of course it’s a setup. That’s my point. I’m asking rhetorically. Why would you ask somebody what they have in their purse? What are you hoping she, “Well I’ve got some condoms, you never know, Angela.” What are we talking about here? “I’ve got some KY Jelly for the pole? You know, Bernie’s people throwing dollar bills at me?” What’s supposed to be in the purse?
But Hillary said hot sauce. “Yeah, I got hot sauce in my purse.” Now listen, I want you to know that people are going to see this and they say, “She’s pandering to black people,” said another African-American. And Hillary's, “OK, OK, is it working? Is it working?” No, no, seriously, she said, “I’ve been eating a lot of hot sauce. Raw peppers and hot sauce, I think it keeps my immune system strong. Hot sauce is good for you.” That’s what she told this radio program. Here’s the reason, here’s the reason. Beyonce has a new song out called Formation. She sang it at the Super Bowl, so it’s not really new but it’s relatively new. And in that song, Beyonce sings, “I got hot sauce in my bag, swag. I got hot sauce in my bag.” So it is total pandering. “I got hot sauce in my bag.” So Hillary is like, “Well if Beyonce sang it, that means most African-Americans probably not only know it, but they’ve also got hot sauce in their bags.” And therefore, she’s going to say she’s got hot sauce in her bag. But for her, it’s good for her immune system. Keeps her immune system strong with hot sauce. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 4/18/16]
Laura Ingraham: Clinton Is “Going To Do Whatever She Can To Pander To” African-Americans. On the April 19 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade introduced a clip of Clinton’s interview by saying, “She’s not afraid to pander" and, “She also has been known to pander to a certain sect or community that she needs in her column.” Fox contributor Laura Ingraham added, “She's going to do whatever she can to pander to” African-American voters, and, "If she has to wear the Black Lives Matter t-shirt for a week or two, she’ll do that too”:
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): And [Hillary Clinton’s] not afraid to pander ... Hillary Clinton is known to put on accents if she's in a church or a certain community. She also has been known to pander to a certain sect or community that she needs in her column, one of which is firmly in her column and that’s the African-American vote. She was on a hip-hop station because that's where she’s most comfortable, and here she is talking.
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): OK, is it working? Laura, do you really believe --
KILMEADE: Is it working, Laura?
LAURA INGRAHAM: I don't even know what to say to that. I'll take the hot sauce --
KILMEADE: It's unbelievable.
INGRAHAM: -- over that really bad -- that really bad accent that she does when she goes like, “I ain't no way tired.” You know that accent she does when she goes down south? So Hillary knows that the African-American vote is key to her winning. She's got to wrap this up. She doesn't want this to keep going on and on. So she's going to do whatever she can to pander to them. I mean, the Clintons are really, really good at this. They're pros. They usually win, so. They usually win for a reason. They know what demographic is important. And so if she has to wear the Black Lives Matter t-shirt for a week or two, she'll do that too.
DOOCY: You’re probably right. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/19/16]
Breitbart News: “‘Is It Workin’?’ Hillary Clinton Admits Pandering To African-Americans.” In an April 18 piece, headlined "‘Is It Workin’?’ Hillary Clinton Admits Pandering to African-Americans," Breitbart News’ Charlie Spiering wrote that Clinton “joked that she realized she was pandering to African-Americans” during her interview. Spiering claimed that “Clinton proceeded to spend the entire interview pandering to the African-American hosts and the audience”:
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joked that she realized she was pandering to African-Americans during an interview with the New York radio show The Breakfast Club.
When asked what item she always carried with her, she replied, “Hot sauce.”
“You getting in Formation right now?” asked one of the amazed hosts, citing the lyrics of the Beyoncé song about keeping hot sauce in her bag. He suggested African-Americans would likely see her comment as “pandering to black people.”
“O.K. … Is it workin’?” she replied, laughing.
Clinton proceeded to spend the entire interview pandering to the African-American hosts and the audience. [Breitbart News, 4/18/16]
National Review’s Stephen Miller: “Casual Racism Is Funny When They Do It. #CPTime #HotSauce.”
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) April 18, 2016
Commentary’s Noah Rothman: “Is Hillary's Hot Sauce Quip The ‘I Ain't No Ways Tired’ Of The 2016 Cycle, Or Are There More Unconvincing Panders In Store?”
Is Hillary's hot sauce quip the “I ain't no ways tired” of the 2016 cycle, or are there more unconvincing panders in store?
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) April 18, 2016
Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft: “Grandma Hillary Tells Black Radio Host She Carries Hot Sauce in Her Purse.”
— Jim Hoft (@gatewaypundit) April 18, 2016
But Multiple Outlets Have Reported Hillary Clinton Does Carry Hot Sauce With Her
Salon: Clinton Has Been Talking About Carrying Hot Sauce “At Least Since 2008.” On April 18, Salon’s Scott Timberg, in an article headlined “Hillary’s hot sauce long con: If Clinton is pandering with this latest food revelation, it’s the most impressive suck-up ever,” wrote that Clinton has “been talking about [hot sauce] at least since 2008,” citing multiple interviews and reports mentioning Clinton eating “hot peppers” and keeping hot sauce around. Timberg concluded that the pandering claim was another example of Clinton “conspiracy theories,” noting that “given what she’s been accused of in the past, charges of plotting over hot sauce seem mild by comparison”:
So there are a couple of possibilities. One is that Hillary Clinton really does like hot sauce and carries it around with her so she can season her food. The other is that she’s been building an elaborate long con over hot sauce – because she’s been talking about it at least since 2008. A New York Times piece got at Clinton’s love of hot peppers, based on a “60 Minutes” interview:
“I eat a lot of hot peppers,” she told CBS News anchor Katie Couric, who had asked her how she maintains her stamina on the campaign trail. “I for some reason started doing that in 1992, and I swear by it. I think it keeps my metabolism revved up and keeps me healthy.”
Apparently she kept 100 bottles of hot sauce when she was in the White House. In 2012, she told Conde Nast Traveler about bringing red pepper and Tabasco on her trips as Secretary of State. And late last year, she and her staff talked about peppers and farm stands.
To Clinton doubters, perhaps this is all just something she’s been planning since Bill’s election. Could it be that Hillary has built an elaborate myth around herself as someone who is not as bland as she seems but is actually edgy, gutsy, and working so hard she needs to eat food that a lot of white Middle Americans consider too spicy so she can keep moving at high speed?
What remains amazing about Hillary Clinton is her ability to attract conspiracy theories: It was true in the 1990s, when her husband was president and she was accused of having killed Vince Foster. More recently, she’s become responsible for the attacks on Benghazi. The NRA thinks she’s been plotting to take people’s guns away.
Given what she’s been accused of in the past, charges of plotting over hot sauce seem mild by comparison. Some pundits are going to say that this doesn’t matter much, and that political observers should pay attention to policy and not what politicians eat. There’s something to that. [Salon, 4/18/16]
Mark Halperin: “I've Seen” Clinton Carry Hot Sauce. During the April 19 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Mark Halperin said, “I guarantee you she carries hot sauce. Guarantee it. I've seen it.” [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 4/19/16]
Condé Nast Traveler: Clinton “Always Packs Tabasco Sauce.” In an August 2012, report, Condé Nast Traveler’s Kevin Doyle asked Clinton’s office “what she always packs.” Their response included “a mini bottle of Tabasco Sauce for adding spice to her meals.” [Condé Nast Traveler, 8/30/12]
WSJ: While She Was Secretary Of State, Clinton’s Air Force Plane Stocked Tabasco Sauce. In October 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported that Clinton’s Air Force plane during her travels as secretary of state stocked “fruit, almonds and Tabasco sauce, which she dribbles on nearly all foods, including salads.” [The Wall Street Journal, 10/25/12]
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Clinton Packs “Pepper Sauce In [Her] Briefcase” As First Lady. In June 1994, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that then-first lady Clinton was among those “who pack pepper sauce in their briefcases in case of an emergency bland-out." [The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6/26/94]
AP: Clinton “Had A Collection Of More Than 100 Hot Sauces” As First Lady. In December, the Associated Press reported that Clinton “had a collection of more than 100 hot sauces” in the White House. [Associated Press, 12/21/15]
NY Daily News: Clinton “Has A Collection” Of Hot Sauces. The New York Daily News, in its January 2007 report on “Secrets From The White House Kitchen,” noted that “First Ladies [Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush] liked hot sauce: Clinton has a collection, while Bush is partial to Yucatan Sunshine Habanero pepper sauce.” [New York Daily News, 1/24/07]
Right-Wing Media Have Previously Attacked Clinton For Other Mundane Acts Such As Coughing And Using The Bathroom
Right-Wing Media Mocked Clinton For Coughing During Campaign Events And Congressional Testimony. After Clinton coughed at a January 25 speech at an Iowa campaign event, right-wing media attacked her, claiming it was “Hillary thyroid drama” and that it raised “further questions about her health and stamina.” Rush Limbaugh said she was “still looking sick, unenergetic,” and Fox’s Sean Hannity offered to send “some Pine Brothers cough drops" because “she needs some, desperately.” RedState also used the coughing to compare her to a “paranoid” “Kremlin” leader. When Clinton coughed during her 2015 testimony before the House Benghazi Committee, Matt Drudge tweeted that Clinton’s “coughing fit” was the “biggest revelation,” claiming that Clinton is “obviously induced by meds.” The Drudge Report also ran a piece headlined ”The Clinton Cough That Just Won't Go Away" following her coughing during an April radio interview. [Media Matters, 1/26/16, Drudge Report, 4/18/16]
Right-Wing Media Attacked Clinton For Going To The Bathroom. After Donald Trump attacked Clinton for using the bathroom during the December Democratic presidential debate, Fox’s Andrea Tantaros said he made her look like “a whiny, weak female.” Rush Limbaugh said she should “wear a diaper” if she “can’t hold it for two hours.” CNN's Jeffrey Lord also claimed that Clinton's bathroom use was “endemic of her personality.” [Media Matters, 1/26/16]