JACKSON, Miss. — The already-biting personal attacks between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump escalated Wednesday, with the Democratic nominee accusing her rival of leading a “hate movement” and Trump labeling Clinton a “bigot.”
“He is taking a hate movement mainstream. He’s brought it into his campaign,” Clinton told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “He is bringing it to our communities and our country. And someone who has questioned the citizenship of the first African-American president, who has courted white supremacists, who has been sued for housing discrimination against communities of color, who has 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.”
Clinton will hit Trump and his advisers in Reno for “embracing extremism and presenting a divisive and dystopian view of America,” a Clinton aide who previewed the speech told CNN on Tuesday.
A little over an hour earlier in Jackson, Mississippi, Trump issued his bluntest and most provocative characterization yet of Clinton as part of his accusations that she treats minorities, and black people in particular, simply as votes to be counted.
“Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future,” Trump said at a campaign rally here, speaking to an overwhelmingly white audience of supporters in the deep-red state. “She doesn’t care what her policies have done to your communities. She has no remorse. She’s going to do nothing for Hispanics and African-Americans.”
Trump last week accused Clinton of “bigotry” — a term Clinton has occasionally invoked on the trail as well to criticize Trump — but ratcheted up that language Wednesday night. His prepared remarks, which the Trump campaign released ahead of his latest verbal assault, included the “bigot” accusation.
Trump has made a direct appeal to African-Americans at each one of his rallies in the last week, decrying inner-city poverty and accusing Democratic policies of failing voters of color, who are a critical voting bloc to the Democratic Party.
The Republican nominee also has taken flak from critics for issuing his appeal to minority voters in towns and cities that are overwhelmingly white.
And he’s been accused of going too far by overplaying poverty statistics and suggesting that virtually all black and Hispanic voters are impoverished inner-city residents.
“You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed — what the hell do you have to lose?” Trump asked.