In a major address on Thursday, Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of embracing the beliefs of the “alt-right,” a political movement whose followers include white nationalists, neo-Nazis and anti-Semites.
“From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia. He’s taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over one of America’s two major political parties,” Clinton told supporters in Reno, Nevada. “His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous.”
Pointing to Trump’s retweeting of white supremacists, his initial refusal to disavow the endorsement of former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, and his failure to condemn the “anti-Semitic slurs and death threats coming from his supporters,” Clinton said, “Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters. It’s a disturbing preview of what kind of president he’d be.”
“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 reaches of the Internet, should never run our government or command our military. If he doesn’t respect all Americans, how can he serve all Americans?”
Clinton also criticized Trump for “pushing discredited conspiracy theories with racist undertones,” noting, “Just recently, Trump claimed President Obama founded ISIS. And he has repeated that over and over again.”
“His latest paranoid fever dream is about my health. All I can say is: Donald, dream on,” she said to cheers and chants of “Hill-a-ry” from the crowd. “This is what happens when you treat the National Enquirer like gospel.”
As promised, Clinton highlighted Trump’s connections to the “alt-right,” including his recent hiring of former Breitbart executive Stephen Bannon as campaign CEO.
Hillary Clinton on Donald Trump: ‘We Were Not Friends’
“To give you a flavor of [Bannon’s] work,” Clinton said, “here are a few headlines they’ve published: “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy”, “Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?”, “Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield”, “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage”.
“That one came shortly after the Charleston massacre, when Democrats and Republicans alike were doing everything they could to heal racial divides that Breitbart and Bannon tried to enflame,” Clinton continued. “Just imagine – Donald Trump reading that and thinking: ‘This is what I need more of in my campaign.’ ”
The ideas Breitbart.com embraces, she added, “are racist ideas, race-baiting ideas, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant, anti-women – all key tenets making up an emerging racist ideology known as the alt-right,” Clinton said. She added that Bannon’s new position “represents a landmark achievement” for the alt-right, “a fringe element has effectively taken over the Republican Party.”
Clinton said that the alt-right’s newfound prominence is part of an even bigger problem: “the rising tide of hardline, right-wing nationalism around the world.” She noted Trump’s ties to Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage, who spoke at the GOP nominee’s rally Wednesday in Jackson, Mississippi, and Trump’s repeated praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his policies.
“All of this adds up to something we have never seen before,” she said. “Of course there’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, a lot of it arising from racial resentment. But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone. Until now.”
“No one should have any illusions about what’s really going on here. The names may have changed … Racists now call themselves ‘racialists.’ White supremacists now call themselves ‘white nationalists.’ The paranoid fringe now calls itself ‘alt-right.’ But the hate burns just as bright.”
“And now Trump is trying to rebrand himself as well. But don’t be fooled,” she warned.
Meanwhile, in a speech from Manchester, New Hampshire, that began just before Clinton’s, Trump called the Democratic nominee’s racism accusations “a tired and disgusting argument,” adding that he and his supporters are not racist.
“When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument: ‘You’re racist. You’re racist. You’re racist,’” Trump said. “They keep saying it: ‘You’re racist.’ It’s a tired, disgusting argument and it’s so totally predictable.”
“To Hillary Clinton and her donors and advisers pushing her to spread smears and her lies about decent people, I have three words: Shame on you,” he added.
Trump’s campaign also released a statement attacking Clinton on Thursday, in which Senior Communications Advisor Jason Miller said, “Hillary Clinton’s attempt to delete the single worst week of her political career isn’t going to work. Her admission that there’s a lot of smoke but no fire is a complete lie, and the American public’s response will be to do exactly as her campaign suggests: don’t vote for her.”
“Clinton’s attempt to blame Colin Powell for her illegal email server backfired, and there’s no way the Clintons could go from dead broke to making more $250 million since leaving office without breaking the law and trading off their access to office. This is exactly why we need a Special Prosecutor to investigate the blurring of lines between the Clinton State Department, the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton’s personal bank account. It’s corruption and the rigged system in Washington at its worst, and it’s exactly why we need to vote for a change agent like Donald Trump.”