The Underwoods will do just about anything for the power, even if that means screwing over your spouse. Claire and Frank have been at odds since Season 3's Russia debacle, causing them to undermine the other left and right. Now, after pushing Claire to step down as U.N. Ambassador, Frank is finally getting a taste of his own medicine. (Spoilers for Season 4 of House of Cards ahead.) Someone has erected a damning KKK billboard to hurt Underwood 2016, and despite Frank's many enemies, this personal ploy hits much closer to home. Why? Because Claire Underwood and Leann Harvey were behind the KKK billboard, and their tactics might just be enough to break the President.
All eyes have been on the President since Claire stopped appearing on the campaign trail with Frank since the beginning of Season 4. Although Frank was able to blame it on her mother's cancer — which Claire went along with for the time being — people were still skeptical of what he was hiding while running for the democratic candidacy against Dunbar. Well, as it turns out, Frank had a huge secret that has been hidden away in a safety deposit box in South Carolina in form of photo. A very incriminating photo that suggests that Frank's dad, Calvin Underwood, was a member of the KKK.
Claire and Leann did a very good job covering their tracks on this adventure — it's as if Claire has been taking notes from Frank's conniving maneuvers for the past three seasons. Claire didn't even do the leg work, instead she had Leann — her new Chief of Staff — make the deal happen via Oren Chase. Leann, who opened a safety deposit box under a fake name, gained access to the safety deposit room where Frank hides away his deep dark secrets and was able to obtain a photo of Frank's father with a KKK member.
That photo was secretly and swiftly made into a billboard with Underwood 2016 written below, which quickly besmirched Frank's family's name. When Team Underwood began to dig deep on who was behind it, they hit a dead end, with only details of it being a brunette who was "this tall." Not so helpful. But, Frank didn't need to hear anymore. He knew who was behind it because there was only one copy of that photo — and Claire had access to it.
So, despite the fact that Claire didn't actually make the billboard happen, she had a huge hand in it. That, clearly, doesn't make Frank happy. Despite the fact that Claire and Frank have been at odds, Frank seems to be surprised by Claire's actions. I see them as Claire finally showing Frank who holds the power in the relationship and in the White House. He seems to think that he's the one in control, but I think it's been obvious for a while now that Claire can take him down very easily.
Claire has a mission of her own, and that's to run the country. She showed her hand and proved that she's willing to do anything she can to get ahead, even if that means hurting the Underwood name.