WASHINGTON — During a conversation on immigration reform, Hillary Clinton told a small audience in Norwalk, Iowa on Wednesday that “all my grandparents, you know, came over here.”
The reality is, however, that only one of the presidential candidate’s four grandparents were immigrants to the United States.
As first noted by Buzzfeed, Clinton’s paternal grandfather Hugh Rodham Sr. was born in England and immigrated to the United States in as a young child.
Clinton’s paternal grandmother Hanna Jones Rodham was born in Pennsylvania and Clinton’s two maternal grandparents – Della Howell and Edwin Howell – were born in Illinois.
“Her grandparents always spoke about the immigrant experience and, as a result she has always thought of them as immigrants,” a Clinton campaign spokesperson said on Thursday. “As has been correctly pointed out, while her grandfather was an immigrant, it appears that Hillary’s grandmother was born shortly after her parents and siblings arrived in the U.S. in the early 1880s.”
Clinton made a similar reference to her grandparents in the past.
“I am very grateful to all of you for this singular honor which I could not obtain by birth despite how many immigrant grandparents I had,” she said when she was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame in March.
It was, however, noted by another speaker at that lunch that seven of her eight great-gandparents were immigrants.
Republicans have already jumped on Clinton’s story in Iowa about her grandparents. A Republican aide said the Republican National Committee plans to go after her on it.
Sean Spicer, the RNC communications director, already tweeted about this story. “Dust off ur Bill Clinton dictionary,” he said, hinting at the former president’s “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” statement during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Clinton’s family history has been a regular aspect of the former secretary of state’s remarks on the paid speaking circuit. She usually mentions her mother as her inspiration, nothing that Della Howell and Edwin Howell were not attentive parents and shipped their children off to relatives in California at a young age.