Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Thursday attacked Donald Trump for turning a blind eye on his white nationalist and anti-Semitic supporters and for spreading some of their messages on social media.
“This is someone who retweets white supremacists online,” Clinton charged in a campaign speech in Nevada. “His campaign famously posted an anti-Semitic image – a Star of David imposed over a sea of dollar bills – that first appeared on a white supremacist website.”
Clinton also brought up Trump’s tepid rejection of David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, and late condemnation under mounting pressure, to make a point that he’s been too slow in condemning anti-Semitism in order to appeal to the alt-right (Alternative Right) movement.
“From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia,” Clinton said. “He’s taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over one of America’s two major political parties… Of course, there’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, steeped in racial resentment. But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone. Until now.”
“He says he wants to ‘Make America great again,’ but his real message remains ‘Make America hate again,'” she added.
Trump preempted the speech by suggesting that Clinton is trying to shift the conversation about his appeal to African-American voters to charges of racism because she can’t defend her record. “It’s the oldest play in the Democratic playbook,” Trump said at a campaign rally in New Hampshire. “When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument. It’s a tired and disgusting argument, It’s the last refuge of the discredited politician.”
“We will steadfastly reject bigotry and hatred and oppression in all of its forms,” Trump declared.
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt recently compared Trump’s campaign to George Wallace’s run for president in the 1960′s as a similar example of “racism being inserted into the public conversation in a presidential election.”
“I’m not saying that Donald Trump is a racist or anti-Semite but the racists and anti-Semites have come out of the woodwork during this political season to support him,” Greenblatt told CNN in June.
Trump released a laconic statement in May, saying, “Anti-Semitism has no place our society, which needs to be united, not divided.” He followed up with an unequivocal rejection of bigotry and hate in recent campaign appearances.