WASHINGTON (AP) — When Bill Clinton told the staff of his global charity he would have to step down if Hillary Clinton won the White House, he was vividly clear about how that felt: Worse than a root canal, he said.
For Clinton, the foundation that bears his name has shaped much of his post-White House legacy, helping transform him from a popular yet scandal-tainted former president into an international philanthropist and humanitarian. But the Clinton Foundation is also the focus of election-year scrutiny — pushed along by Donald Trump — about the Democratic power couple’s ability and willingness to separate the organization’s wealthy contributors from past and possible future government roles.
The decisions surrounding the foundation’s future are the latest chapter in an unprecedented partnership of personal and political ambitions. While political spouses — Hillary Clinton among them — often put aside their own goals, never before has that been required of a former president.
Friends and associates say that while Bill Clinton knows his role in the high-profile charity has to change, settling on how and when he might walk away has been emotional. He’s also said to be deeply frustrated with the criticism shadowing his potential exit.