Hillary Clinton Reaches Out to Sanders Supporters and Expands Criticism of Trump

May 30, 2016 by

Hillary embraces more of Bernie’s ideas in California and makes a strong and provocative critique of Trump.

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Hillary Clinton praised Bernie Sanders’ supporters and previewed aggressive attacks against Donald Trump at a Thursday rally in San Jose, Calif., just hours after the Associated Press announced Trump has the 1,237 delegate votes needed for the GOP nomination.

“I am proud of the campaigns that Senator Sanders and I have run,” she said, speaking in a large exhibition hall at the Tech Museum of Innovation. “We have run a campaign on issues about the future. We both want universal healthcare coverage. We both want to make college affordable within the reach of every young person who wants to go to a public college or university. We both want to rein in and prevent what happened in the Great Recession with the misdeeds of Wall Street from ever happening again. We are on the same page.”

“So we are going to be coming together as a unified Democratic Party to make our case against Donald Trump because we, Senator Sanders and I, our supporters together, have so much more in common than we do with Donald Trump,” she said, before spending most of her 25-minute speech going after Trump and outlining her “progressive” agenda.

Clinton’s remarks came a day after the latest California poll found she was just 2 points ahead of Sanders for the June 7 primary. However, because she is leading in other states voting that day, especially delegate-rich New Jersey, she is poised to clinch the Democratic nomination unless Sanders secures upward of 75 percent of California’s vote.

“If you’ve run for office, and particularly if you’ve run for president, you always come and tell big crowds like this, this is the most important election, don’t you?” she said. “I happen to think every election is important. But you know what? This is the most important election because we’ve got some big decisions to make as a country. And there could not be a starker difference than there is between me, and now, as of today, the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.”

Clinton then laid out, speaking with passion, poise and sometimes humor, why Trump is “dangerous,” “divisive,” “harmful to our future and our country,” and what she would do that’s very different from what he would do. Part of her agenda includes adopting one of Sanders’ most popular proposals, making public colleges and universities tuition-free.

“You never hear Donald Trump talk about education,” she began, saying she supports more early childhood education and partnering with teachers. “We need to make community college free, so that you can get the additional training, skills and education to get a job,” she continued. “We need more technical education, through high school programs, community college programs, business-supported, union-supported apprenticeships. We need to have more ways for people to get the skills that will be competitive for themselves and their families.”

“We are going to make it possible for every young person, and maybe not-so-young person, to get the skills that will enable that person to have a good job with a rising income,” she said. “Education is a part of that. That’s why I want you to have debt-free tuition. You won’t have to borrow a penny to go to a public college or university… And we have a plan to help you pay down and pay off your debt, so you are not burdened by your student debts.”

Clinton said that she wants to unify the Democratic Party and did not say a critical word about Sanders’ push to win California other than saying she would like to end the nominating season with “the wind to her back.”

However, her critique of Trump was strong, deep and provocative.

Going After Trump

Clinton’s critique began by citing the need to fight Trump in light of President Obama’s trip this week to Asia, where the press reported that Asian leaders are “rattled” by what Trump has been saying and proposing, especially his remark he would allow other nations to acquire nuclear weapons. She called Trump’s entire campaign “disgraceful” and unfitting for any American president, starting from its earliest days, when he slammed Mexican immigrants by calling them “rapists” and “criminals.” He went on, she said, to “insult women,” to “insult John McCain, a war hero,” to “make fun of a man with a disability,” to “denigrate Muslims. Honest to goodness, there’s nobody left.”

“I’m telling you, I am so looking forward to debating Donald Trump,” Clinton said. “Because here’s what we are going to talk about: What is our positive vision? I have ideas about how to create more good jobs with rising incomes. We’re going to invest in infrastructure—our roads, our bridges, our tunnels, our ports, our water systems. We are going to finish the job of connecting up America so everybody has access to affordable internet connections. We are going to create jobs in America by incentivizing advanced manufacturing.”

“And let’s agree to fight climate change, which Donald Trump calls a Chinese hoax,” Clinton continued. “Part of the reason the Republicans have ended up with Donald Trump is because they could never criticize him about issues because they basically agree with him about issues. Right? So when the Republicans were asked … about climate change, they always said, ‘Oh, I don’t know, I’m not a scientist.’ Well, they can go to San Jose State [University] and find a scientist and figure out all about climate change.”

Unlike Trump, who denies climate change is real, Clinton said facing the crisis could present Americans with many opportunities to create jobs at home and invigorate the economy.

“One of the ways we are going to combat climate change is investing in and creating jobs in clean renewable energy,” she said. “I have set two big goals. I want us to deploy a half a billion more solar panels by the end of my first term, and enough clean energy to power every home in America by the end of my second term. That will not only put the United States in the lead in dealing with climate change, but it will also create a new economy. Because think about this: Some country is going to be the clean energy superpower. It is either going to be China, Germany or us. I want it to be us, don’t you?”

Clinton then turned on Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the Mexican border, which she said was not just misguided and vindictive, but exactly the wrong kind of infrastructure investment needed—unlike working toward a new domestic energy system.

“Think about millions of jobs in infrastructure, manufacturing and clean energy; these are jobs that can’t be outsourced,” she said. “These are jobs that have to be done in California and across America. Now what does Donald Trump propose—he proposes to build a wall—a wall. … We’ve been trying to figure out about that wall. We figure it would cost about $25 billion. Now think of what else could we use $25 billion for. We could build 1,500 new elementary schools… we could pay for college for 300,000 veterans… So there’s a lot that we will have to talk about when we finally get to stand on that stage together.”

The Tax Evader

Clinton then turned to Trump’s deliberate vagueness and refusal to release his federal taxes.

“The other thing about Trump’s policies is he doesn’t give you specifics,” she said. “One thing we do know is when it comes to tax policy is he has two ideas. … He wants to have billionaires get even lower taxes. His tax plan is written by a billionaire for billionaires, as best I can tell. And he doesn’t want you to see his taxes.”

“Now I disagree with that,” Clinton continued. “Number one, I think we should tax the wealthy. They have not been paying their fair share to support America. And number two, my husband and I have released 33 years of tax returns, and the only two years that Donald Trump has released, he had to release to get a casino … he paid zero in federal income taxes. Zero. And yet he goes around saying he wants to build up the military, make it the strongest in the world. Well, it is the strongest in the world, and I will keep it the strongest in the world. But he won’t pay a penny to make that happen.”

Clinton then pondered what could be hiding in Trump’s tax returns.

“Anybody who has ever been nominated by a major party has had to come up with their tax returns, and we are going to talk about this every day,” she said. “Because either he’s paid no taxes or he paid very little. The only way to find out is for him to release. Either he’s as wealthy as he claims or maybe he’s not. The only way to find out is for him to release. Maybe he is really charitable or maybe he is not. The only way to find out is for him to release.”

The bottom line, Clinton said, is that the more people see of Trump, the more they will realize that he only cares about what’s good for himself.

“What I am proposing will help to grow the economy. And it’s just a historic fact. The economy does better when we have a Democrat in the White House,” she said. “And there is some video that resurfaced where Donald Trump is actually rooting, rooting, for a housing collapse, because he says, ‘Well, I’ll be able to make a lot of money…’ Five million homes were lost, a lot of homes right here in California and where I just was, in Nevada. Think of the heartbreak. Think of the suffering and disappointment. We know a lot about Donald Trump. He roots for himself, not for you. He wants a good result for himself. He doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process.”

Clinton said that Trump wants to get rid of Obamacare, while she wants to improve it to cut its costs. “And we’re going to get prescription drug costs down and there’s two other issues we’re going to address: mental health and addiction. There is just too much suffering,” she continued. “People with mental health [issues] are not getting the treatment they deserve to get. And there still is a stigma. We’ve got to stop this. People who have diabetes should get treated, just like people who have depression should get treated. And we’ve got to do more to move people who are addicted onto the path for treatment and recovery, not onto the path for jail or prison. That is not the right decision.”

“So I am looking forward to debating jobs, the economy, taxes, education, health care,” she said, summing up her domestic agenda. “And I’m also looking forward to debating what is one of the most important parts of your decision when you vote and that is voting for someone who is both president and commander in chief.”

Anything But a Global Leader

Clinton said Trump is clueless when it comes to how much his sensation-provoking utterances are deeply worrying American allies and those in the international community who have worked for decades to contain the biggest threats, such as access to nuclear weapons.

“Look, I understand why President Obama was in that meeting [in Asia this week] and trying to field all the questions and concerns from leaders around the world, because look at what Trump has said in recent days,” she said. “He’s attacked our closest ally, Great Britain. He has praised the dangerous dictator of North Korea—now, this is a little funny though. He praised Kim Jong-un, and the North Korean ambassador to the U.N. came out yesterday and said they don’t want to talk to Donald Trump. I don’t attribute a lot of good sense to that regime, but that’s probably the right decision.”

“Trump has even suggested that it’s fine with him if more countries get nuclear weapons, for heaven’s sakes,” she said, becoming more serious. “You know, for 70-plus years, Republicans and Democrats, we’ve been trying to keep nuclear weapons out of more countries’ hands, and certainly out of more terrorist hands. It’s one of the most serious risks we face. We can’t talk about nuclear weapons like … it’s a walk in the park. He’s even said he’d use nuclear weapons against ISIS, which is not even a state. He wants to return to torture. He wants to pull out of NATO. He wants to ban all Muslims. I mean, really, I can see why President Obama said that his counterparts were rattled.”

Trump should never get anywhere near the White House situation room, where foreign policy crises are managed and military decisions are made, she said.

“You know it matters who is sitting in that situation room. I spent a lot of hours there,” she said, and described the decision to go after Osama bin Laden in his Pakistan hideout. There were three choices facing President Obama, she said: not act on the intelligence; use a missile and not send special forces troops; or use special forces. The White House team did not all agree, she said, adding that she favored the last option, because it meant bringing back a body to prove it was bin Laden. “But then that moment comes, and this is what you need to think about, when the president gets up and says he’s going to go think about this. Because ultimately, you can have all the advisers, all the people who are experts, but the president has to make the decision.”

Obama, needless to say, chose the special forces. “And we all held our breath that day when the attack occurred. We were all just under the most intense stress,” she said. “No president wants to seek out those kinds of situations, but every president faces those hard choices. And we need a president who can be steady and strong, and I promise you, I will take good care of our men and women in uniform, and I will protect our country and help to lead the world.”

Summing Up

Clinton closed by saying there are “a lot of other issues that Trump has staked out” where the choices could not be more stark.

“I want you to know where I stand in comparison,” she said. “I will defend a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions. And I will defend Planned Parenthood against the partisan attacks. I will defend marriage equality and work to end discrimination against the LGBT community. I will defend voting rights and appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Citizens United. I will defend labor unions and the right to organize and bargain collectively. I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. And I will stand up to the gun lobby and work to get commonsense gun safety reform.”

Hillary ended her speech by returning to where it began—hoping to win the support of Sanders supporters and presenting the country with a positive agenda for progress and change.

“I want to unify the Democratic Party and I want to unify the United States of America,” she said. “I will go anywhere, debate with anyone to find common ground. I’ll also stand my ground. But we’ve got to bring this country together.”

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America’s retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of “Count My Vote: A Citizen’s Guide to Voting” (AlterNet Books, 2008).

1 Comment

  1. Stephen Verchinski

    Clinton was the one with the dispicable campaign. Her DNC crew of “Discredit Sanders, Deny him, and fix the party later is all hers.” Democratic party members who give her the nomination will witness her failure to beat Trump. She is a liar and a machiavellian character of epic proportions.

    Never ever trust her even more so with a nuclear football.

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