An Ugly Presidential Race Gets Uglier: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Trade Insults Over Accusations of Bigotry and Racism
By Tom McCarthy, The Guardian
The 2016 presidential race on Thursday circled closer to the poisonous pulse of racial resentment, as Donald Trump attacked Hillary Clinton for a video featuring white supremacists and Clinton prepared to deliver a speech detailing how, she said, the Trump campaign “is taking a hate movement mainstream”.
Trump, trailing badly in the polls, has moved aggressively to capture non-white voters. The Republican nominee met African American and Latino activists at Trump Tower in New York on Thursday morning, after moderating his stance on immigration and including in his stump speech a sales pitch for African American voters: “What do you have to lose?”
“We have great relationships and the numbers are going up with the African American community rapidly,” Trump said at the meeting, which included retired neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate Ben Carson and members of the Republican leadership initiative to develop conservative minority leaders.
“I’ve always had great relationships with the African American community, and now I’ve made it such a focal point.”
Prior to the meeting, two protesters hung a flag over a second-floor railing in the building’s lobby just outside a branch of Starbucks, reading “Trump = Always Racist”, according to a pool reporter with the Trump campaign. A protester was quickly escorted out, although he shouted to the small gaggle of reporters that Trump was “trying to pander to black and Latino leaders” and “nothing will change”.
The magnitude of the challenge for Trump as he tries to attract non-white support was underscored by a Quinnipiac University poll released on Thursday in which Clinton led among non-white likely voters by a 62-point margin, 77%-15%. A July poll of battleground states found Trump with 0% support among African Americans.
This is not the first week of the campaign in which racial tensions have been laid bare. But with election day nearing, the rhetoric has once again intensified.
“Hillary Clinton is a bigot!” Trump told a largely white audience in Jackson, Mississippi, on Wednesday night, saying that the Democratic nominee valued non-white votes but not non-white voters.
Clinton responded with a sample of a critique she planned to lay out at greater length in her speech in Reno, Nevada, on Thursday afternoon, noting that Trump had “questioned the citizenship of the first African American president”, “courted white supremacists” and had been “sued for housing discrimination against communities of color”.
Speaking in Reno this afternoon, Clinton will say: “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 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?”