SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Speaking at the historic site of Abraham Lincoln’s “house divided” speech, Hillary Clinton Wednesday issued a call for unity and tore into Donald Trump for running a campaign “as divisive as any we’ve seen in our lifetimes.”
“This man is the nominee of the Party of Lincoln. We are watching it become the Party of Trump. And that’s not just a huge loss for our democracy – it is a threat to it,” she said.
Clinton framed her remarks around the collective “fear and anxiety” that followed last week's shootings in Dallas, Louisiana and Minnesota. After laying out her plan to improve relationships between police and the communities they serve, she went on an extended riff against the presumptive Republican nominee.
She accused Trump’s campaign of peddling “an ugly, dangerous message to America” that is based on fear and encourages voters to be “afraid of people whose ethnicity is different, or religious faith is different, or who were born in a different country or hold different political beliefs.”
Beyond slamming his campaign’s tweet featuring an anti-Semitic image and his involvement in the birther movement, Clinton called out Trump for past comments on Muslims, women and the federal judge overseeing his Trump University lawsuit.
The former secretary of state also went so far as to suggest Trump would use extreme tactics to get back at his detractors.
“Imagine if he had not just Twitter and cable news to go after his critics and opponents, but also the IRS – or for that matter, our entire military. Given what we have seen and heard, do any of us think he’d be restrained? ” she asked.
But, during the mostly somber speech, she admitted she had work to do on this front as well.
“I cannot stand here and claim that my words and actions haven’t sometimes fueled the partisanship that often stands in the way of progress,” she said, adding: “So I recognize I have to do better too.”
Clinton’s campaign chose this venue to hammer home the unity theme, and while she acknowledged today’s challenges are different from Lincoln’s, she said “recent events have left people across America asking hard questions about whether we are still a house divided.”
This is not the first time Clinton has discussed the party of Lincoln and the party of Trump but the shootings in Dallas, Minnesota and Louisiana have given it new meaning. She first made that charge last August, at the DNC’s summer meeting in Minneapolis.