Politics

Hillary Clinton Addresses Trump and Alt-Right Movement

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton took the stage at a Reno, Nevada community college on Thursday to deliver a much-anticipated speech about her opponent's ties to the alt-right political movement — a fringe right wing movement associated with white nationalism, an extreme anti-immigration stance, and racist rhetoric.

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​"From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia," she said in the speech. "He’s taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over one of America’s two major political parties. His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous."

Clinton said she has fielded concerns about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump "taking hate groups mainstream" from voters across the country, and she attacked Trump's "prejudice and paranoia."

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In the pointed speech, Clinton highlighted Trump's history of stoking racist conspiracy theories.

"Trump promoted the racist lie that Obama is not a real American citizen," Clinton said, as an example. She also pointed to Trump's support from radio personality Alex Jones — who believes that the Sandy Hook mass shooting was an "inside job" — alleging that the Republican nominee cannot tell fact from fiction.

"This is what I want to make clear today: A man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and from the far reaches of the internet, should never run our government or command our military," Clinton continued. "If he does’t respect all Americans, how can he serve all Americans?"

Clinton cited Trump's comments about Mexican "rapists," his hesitance to disavow former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, his retweets of white supremacists on social media, and his comments about a Mexican-American federal judge overseeing a Trump University lawsuit — calling his words "the textbook definition of a racist comment."

The speech comes only a week after Trump appointed former Breitbart News executive chairman Steve Bannon as the chief of his campaign.

Trump has seen support from the alt-right throughout his campaign, but his appointment of Bannon — who has proudly described Breitbart as “the platform for the alt-right,” according to the Wall Street Journal — has cemented his affiliation with this particular political philosophy in the eyes of his critics.

"Bannon has nasty things to say about just about everyone," Clinton argued, recounting Bannon's attacks on House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R) "social-justice Catholicism." Clinton then read several Breitbart headlines to emphasize her point.

The point of Clinton's speech, according to the New York Times, was to point out Trump's associations with the alt-right and introduce the group and its agenda to a national audience.

"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," she said. "Until now. The de facto merger between Breitbart and the Trump Campaign represents a landmark achievement for the 'Alt-Right.'"

"The party of Lincoln has become the party of Trump," Clinton asserted, citing her support among Republicans and Independents.

Clinton also slammed Trump's recent, controversial appeals to minority voters — delivered to largely white audiences — and alleged that Trump lacks knowledge of the everyday realities and systemic racism that face communities of color.

Trump has recently used the phrase "What do you have to lose?" discussing Black and Latino voters.

In her speech, Clinton rejected the notion that there is "another Trump" than the one we see on TV and argued that his rhetoric illustrates exactly who he is.

Before Clinton's address in Reno, Trump, for his part, dismissed the speech as an attempt to "smear" his supporters.