Hillary Clinton did not mince words at a rally in Nevada on Thursday, arguing that Donald Trump is “taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over” the Republican Party.
“This is what I want to make clear today: a man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far dark reaches of the Internet, should never run our government or command our military,” she said. “Ask yourself: if he doesn’t respect all Americans, how can he serve all Americans?”
Clinton delivered a scathing critique of Trump’s positions in regard to minority communities, from his call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., his rhetoric on Mexican immigrants, and his position as the loudest voice in the anti-Obama birther movement.
Clinton’s remarks come amid new efforts by the Trump campaign to appeal to people of color. In a series of speeches this week, Trump has asked black Americans what they would lose by voting for him, painting the collective community as one ravaged by poverty, crime and hopelessness. On Thursday, Clinton released a scathing online ad that featured members of the Ku Klux Klan talking about their support for Trump.
Trump has not been shy about criticizing Clinton either, calling her a “bigot” who “sees people of color only as votes” during a rally in Jackson, Miss., on Wednesday. In a statement released by the Trump campaign, pastor Mark Burns, who is black, called the ad “a disgusting new low.” And during remarks delivered shortly before Clinton’s speech, the Republican nominee argued the former Secretary of State should be ashamed of accusing his supporters of being racist.
“To Hillary Clinton, and to her donors and advisors, pushing her to spread her smears and her lies about decent people, I have three words. I want you to hear these words, and remember these words: Shame on you,” Trump said.
And yet, Clinton didn’t back down. She placed Trump’s stances outside of both Republican values and American values, claiming the country’s fringe element has never had a representative in its major party nominee. Trump’s recent hire of Breitbart CEO Stephen Bannon was a major target for Clinton who argued that it amounts to a “fringe element” taking over the GOP.
“Of course there’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, steeped in racial resentment,” Clinton said. “But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone. Until now.”
Clinton suggested that a vote for her would be a vote against “prejudice and paranoia” and called the election a “moment of reckoning” for the country.
“This is a moment of reckoning for every Republican dismayed that the party of Lincoln has become the party of Trump. It’s a moment of reckoning for all of us who love our country and believe that America is better than this.”