Hillary Clinton wants to get past partisan politics, but isn’t ready to back off her criticisms of Donald Trump.
Speaking from the same stage where President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous “House Divided” speech, the former secretary of state addressed several recent high-profile shootings of police officers and unarmed black men, which Clinton said demonstrated that there was “too much violence” and “too little common ground” between Americans.
The former secretary of state praised police officers and protesters alike, but acknowledged that the praise may be awkward for those who feel passionately about one side or another.
“I understand that just saying these things together may upset some people. I’m talking about police reform a few days after a horrific attack on police officers. I’m talking about courageous, honorable police officers just a few days after officer involved shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota. I’m bringing up guns in a country where just talking about comprehensive background checks and getting assault weapons off the streets gets you demonized,” Clinton said. “But all these things can be true at the same time.”
Though Clinton noted her partisan role likely deepened divisions, she took numerous swings at Trump, claiming that his campaign was “stoking mistrust and pitting American against American.”
“I realise that our politics have contributed to the sense of division that many Americans feel right now. And as someone in the middle of a hotly fought political campaign. I cannot stand here and claim that my words and actions haven’t fuelled the partisanship that often stands in the way of progress. So I recognise that I have to do better too,” Clinton said.
She quickly added: “In times like these we need a president who can help pull us together, not split us apart. And that’s why I believe Donald Trump is so dangerous.”
The former secretary of state laid into Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric, specifically highlighted his comments during an interview on Tuesday where he claimed he empathized with victims of police violence because “even against me the system is rigged.”
“Even this — the killing of people — is all about him,” Clinton said.
But Clinton also extended an olive branch to Trump supporters, saying that she understood their concerns about a changing economy and globalization.
“I believe like anyone else they’re trying to figure out their place in a fast changing America,” Clinton said. “They want to know how to make a good living and give their kids better futures and opportunities.”
Many observers noted that for his part, Trump has departed somewhat from his usual aggressive rhetorical style following the shootings of police officers and protesters last week in a similar plea for unity.
At a rally on Tuesday in Indiana, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee briefly mentioned the shootings of unarmed black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, saying that we had to “take care of everybody.”
“The two people that were killed in Louisiana and Minnesota. It was tough, it was tough to watch, for everybody here it was tough to watch. We have to figure it out. We have to figure out what is going on. Was it training? Was it something else?” Trump said, as the Washington Post reported.
“It could have been something else. We have to take care of everybody, remember that.”
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