Democrat Hillary Clinton laced into Republican presidential rival Donald Trump on Wednesday, accusing him of stoking divisions among Americans over race and religion.
“His campaign is as divisive as any we have seen in our lifetimes,” Clinton said at a campaign appearance at the Illinois state house in Springfield. “It is built on stoking mistrust and pitting American against American. It’s there in everything he says and everything he promises to do as president.”
The two presumptive nominees are heading into July nominating conventions where they are to formally become the Democratic and Republican candidates who will square off in the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Clinton’s speech on the divisions she believes Trump is exacerbating came a week after a sniper shot and killed five Dallas police officers during a protest of police killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.
Clinton’s speech on Wednesday carried the echo of history. The state house in the Illinois capital of Springfield was the site where President Abraham Lincoln delivered an anti-slavery speech during his campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1858 and where President Barack Obama, the first African-American to hold the highest office in America, launched his campaign.
Clinton criticized Trump’s proposals to ban Muslims from entering the country, create a database of Muslims already in the country and step up deportations by creating a special deportation force.
Trump spent months “trying to discredit the citizenship and legitimacy of our first black president,” Clinton said of his statements questioning Obama’s birthplace and religion.
Trump had been loudly fixated on the issue of Obama’s birthplace during the 2012 presidential campaign and had also suggested that Obama was a Muslim, despite clear evidence that the president was born in Hawaii and is a Christian.
Americans are experiencing a sense of division and politics have contributed to that division, Clinton said.
“As someone in the middle of a hotly fought political campaign 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, so I recognize I have to do better, too,” she added.
(Additional reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Leslie Adler)