Donald Trump responded to Hillary Clinton’s attempt to tie his campaign to hate groups by comparing her email scandal to one of the most infamous scandals in American political history.
“It’s Watergate all over again,” Trump said at a rally in Manchester, N.H., on Thursday afternoon. “A secretary of state sold her office to corporations and foreign governments, betraying the public trust— putting innocent lives in danger — and then she went to great lengths to hide, delete, destroy and lie about the evidence. Just like her lie that she never sent any material marked classified. Lie after lie after lie.
“This is the corruption we expect to see in a Third World country, but not in America,” the Republican nominee continued. “Just imagine the damage to our security, to our integrity, to our standing in the world, if Hillary Clinton is allowed to sell the Oval Office the same way she sold her office as secretary of state. We cannot let this happen. We must vote on Nov. 8 to keep the American government from being sold to the highest bidder.”
— Dan Scavino Jr. (@DanScavino) August 25, 2016
Trump was making the allegations based on recent developments related to the Clinton Foundation. The conservative group Judicial Watch released emails earlier this week showing that a foundation official reached out to Clinton’s State Department for favors. And the Associated Press reported Tuesday that a number of people who met with Clinton when she was secretary of state also donated to her family foundation.
Clinton and her campaign have strongly pushed back on the insinuation that she had traded government favors for donations to the foundation.
“My work as secretary of state was not influenced by any outside forces,” Clinton said Wednesday on CNN. “I made policy decisions based on what I thought was right, to keep Americans safe and protect U.S. interests abroad. No wild political attack by Donald Trump is going to change that. And, in fact, the State Department has said itself that there is no evidence of any kind of impropriety at all.”
Trump’s rally began shortly before Clinton was expected to deliver a speech in Reno, Nev., linking the Republican nominee to the so-called “alt-right” movement.
“The news reports are that Hillary Clinton is going to try to accuse this campaign, and the millions of decent Americans who support this campaign, of being racists,” Trump said. “It’s the oldest play in the Democratic playbook. When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument. ‘You’re racist, you’re racist, you’re racist,’ they keep saying it. It’s a tired and disgusting argument. It’s the last refuge of the discredited politician.
“They keep going back to this same well,” he added. “But you know, the people have become very smart. They have heard it too many times before. The well is dry.”
Earlier Thursday, the Clinton campaign released a video showing white supremacists and members of the Ku Klux Klan praising Trump, and the Trump campaign quickly fired back.
There's a reason the most hateful fringe of the right wing is supporting Donald Trump.https://t.co/AqB3DM2m0N
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 25, 2016
“Hillary Clinton and her campaign went to a disgusting new low today as they released a video tying the Trump campaign with horrific racial images,” the Rev. Mark Burns, a Trump campaign surrogate, said in a statement. “This type of rhetoric and repulsive advertising is revolting and completely beyond the pale. I call on Hillary Clinton to disavow this video and her campaign for this sickening act that has no place in our world.”
Trump’s comments were hardly the only heated anti-Clinton remarks he has offered in recent days. At a rally in Mississippi Wednesday night, Trump called Clinton “a bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings.”
In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper moments later, Clinton returned fire by dismissing the insult as the latest in a series of Trump smears.
“He is taking a hate movement mainstream,” Clinton said. “He’s brought it into his campaign. He’s bringing it to our communities and our country, and someone who’s questioned the citizenship of the first African-American president, who has courted white supremacists, who’s been sued for housing discrimination against communities of color, who’s attacked a judge for his Mexican heritage, and promised a mass deportation force is someone who is very much peddling bigotry and prejudice and paranoia.”
Hillary Clinton responds to Trump calling her a bigot: "He is taking a hate movement mainstream" https://t.co/xyYjhBKRms
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) August 25, 2016
In her speech Thursday, Clinton is expected to make the case that the Trump campaign is led by people who propagate extreme and racist viewpoints.
“Trump’s newly installed brain trust of Steve Bannon, Roger Ailes and Roger Stone completes Donald Trump’s disturbing takeover of the Republican Party,” said John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chair, in a statement to Yahoo News. “We intend to call out this ‘alt-right’ shift, and the divisive and dystopian vision of America they put forth, because it tells voters everything they need to know about Donald Trump himself.”