The Clinton Foundation’s health initiative will divorce itself from the former first family entirely if Hillary Clinton is elected president, the organization announced Wednesday in the latest public-relations move to tamp down criticism of the embattled foundation.
The Clinton Health Access Initiative, founded by the Clinton Foundation in 2002 to battle AIDS and provide low-cost drugs to poor countries, will continue its work if Mrs. Clinton wins in November, but it will no longer use the Clinton name. Instead, it will be known only as the acronym “CHAI.”
Also, former President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton will step down from the group’s board if Mrs. Clinton defeats Republican Donald Trump in the general election.
“If Secretary Clinton is elected president, the changes outlined here will be implemented and CHAI would become an organization completely independent of the Clinton Foundation,” the health-care initiative said in a statement Wednesday.
The move comes amid unprecedented criticism of the foundation and fears that Mrs. Clinton gave foundation donors special access while she was secretary of state. Emails have shown that the former secretary routinely met with influential foundation donors, and that Mrs. Clinton’s top-level State Department staffers were willing to do political favors to those who gave money to the organization.
In addition to Bill and Chelsea Clinton giving up their seats on the board, CHAI said three other board members appointed by the Clinton Foundation — Bruce Lindsey, Ira Magaziner and Maggie Williams — also will step down.
The Clinton Foundation itself also would no longer be able to appoint members to the CHAI board.
In a statement, the Donald Trump campaign blasted the move as little more than a stunt.
“This proposal is a PR gimmick designed to distract from the mounting Clinton Foundation controversies and amounts to the Clintons launching a fire sale on influence-buying before the November election,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said. “The continued flow of foreign donations to the Clintons’ network of foundations while Hillary Clinton runs for the presidency is unacceptable, and every contribution from overseas only further compromises her ability to serve.”