At a speech in Reno on Thursday, Hillary Clinton highlighted Donald Trump and his advisors’ embrace of a hate movement – the disturbing “alt-right” political philosophy. This “alt-right” brand is embracing extremism and presenting a dystopian view of America, Clinton said, which should concern all Americans regardless of party. Clinton argued that Trump’s embrace of this ideology, cemented by hiring the former head of a leading “alt-right” website Breitbart.com as his campaign CEO, dovetails with a troubling history of hateful behavior: Trump was sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for racial bias in the 1970’s and started his presidential campaign calling Mexicans criminals, drug traffickers and rapists. Clinton contrasted Donald Trump’s divisiveness with her vision of an America that is stronger together. Clinton said, “So no one should have any illusions about what’s really going on here. The names may have changed. Racists now call themselves ‘racialists.’ White supremacists now call themselves ‘white nationalists.’ The paranoid fringe now calls itself ‘alt-right.’ But the hate burns just as bright. […] this isn’t just about one election. It’s about who we are as a nation. It’s about the kind of example we want to set for our children and grandchildren.”
Clinton’s remarks, as transcribed, are below:
“Thank you. Thank you so much. I am so thrilled to be back in Reno! Thank you.
I have to say though, I know when I’m back here in Reno, I’m the other Hillary, and I am more than okay with that, because I think your mayor is doing a terrific job. The fact that she herself is a small business woman and really committed to really lifting up Reno and giving everybody in this great city, the biggest little city with a great heart, a chance to get ahead and stay ahead. I could not be more honored than to have her support and endorsement in this race, so thank you.
Let me also thank Dr. Karen Hilersin and others at Truckee Meadows Community College. I love community colleges and I know something about what this college is doing to give people of all ages, not just young people, a real chance to get the skills and opportunities that everyone in America deserves, so thank you.
Now I have to begin by saying my original plan for this visit was to focus on our agenda to help small businesses and entrepreneurs. This week we proposed new steps to cut red tape and taxes, to make it easier for small businesses to get the credit they need to grow and hire. I want to be a small business president. My father was a small businessman. And I believe that in America, if you can dream it, you should be able to build it.
We’ll be talking a lot more small business and about our economic plans in the days and weeks ahead.
But today, here in this community college devoted to opening minds and creating great understanding in this world and the place we live. I want to address something I hear from Americans all over our country. Everywhere I go, people tell me how concerned they are by the divisive rhetoric coming from my opponent in this election. I understand that concern because it’s like nothing we’ve heard before from a nominee for President of the United States from one of our two major parties.
From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia. He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican party. His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous.
In just the past week, under the guise of ‘outreach’ to African Americans, Trump has stood up in front of largely white audiences and described black communities in such insulting and ignorant terms. ‘Poverty. Rejection. Horrible education. No housing. No homes. No ownership. Crime at levels nobody has seen.’ ‘Right now,’ he said, ‘you walk down the street and get shot.’ Those are his words.
But when I hear them, I think to myself how sad. Donald Trump misses so much, he doesn’t see. This is a man who clearly doesn’t know about Black America and doesn’t care about Black America.
Donald Trump misses so much. He doesn’t see the success of black leaders in every field, the vibrancy of the black-owned businesses, or the strength of the black church. He doesn’t see the excellence of historically black colleges and universities or the pride of black parents watching their children thrive. He apparently didn’t see Police Chief Brown on television after the murder of five of his officers conducting himself with such dignity.
And he certainly doesn’t have any solutions to take on the reality of systemic racism and create more equity and opportunity in communities of color and for every American.
It really does take a lot of nerve to ask people he’s ignored and mistreated for decades, ‘What do you have to lose?’ Because the answer is everything.
Now, Trump’s lack of knowledge or experience or solutions would be bad enough. But what he’s doing here is more sinister. Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters.
It’s a disturbing preview of what kind of President he’d be.
And that’s 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 the far, dark reaches of the internet, should never run our government or command our military. Ask yourself, if he doesn’t respect all Americans, how can he serve all Americans?
Now, I know that some people still want to give Trump the benefit of the doubt. They hope that he will eventually reinvent himself – that there’s a kinder, gentler, more responsible Donald Trump waiting in the wings somewhere.
Because after all, it’s hard to believe anyone – let alone a nominee for president – could really believe all the things he says.
But here’s the hard truth, there is no other Donald Trump. This is it.
And Maya Angelou, a great American who I admire very much, she once said: ‘When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.’ Well, throughout his career and this campaign, Donald Trump has shown us exactly who he is. And I think we should believe him.
When he was getting his start in business, he was sued by the Justice Department for refusing to rent apartments to black and Latino tenants. Their applications would be marked with a ‘C’ – ‘C’ for ‘colored’ – and then rejected. Three years later, the Justice Department took Trump back to court because he hadn’t changed.
And the pattern continued through the decades.
State regulators fined one of Trump’s casinos for repeatedly removing black dealers from the floor. No wonder the turnover rate for his minority employees was way above average.
And let’s not forget that Trump first gained political prominence leading the charge for the so-called ‘Birthers.’ He promoted the racist lie that President Obama is not really an American citizen – part of a sustained effort to delegitimize America’s first black President.
In 2015, Trump launched his own campaign for President with another racist lie. He described Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals. And he accused the Mexican government of actively sending them across the border. None of that is true.
Oh, and by the way, by the way, Mexico’s not paying for his wall either. If he ever tries to get it built, the American taxpayer will pay for it. We’ll be stuck with the bill.
But there has been a steady stream of bigotry coming from him.
We all remember when Trump said a distinguished federal judge born in Indiana couldn’t be trusted to do his job because, quote, ‘He’s a Mexican.’ Think about that. The man who today is the standard bearer of the Republican Party said a federal judge, who by the way, had a distinguished career, who had to go into hiding because Mexican drug gangs were after him, who has Mexican heritage but who just like me was born in this country, is somehow incapable solely because of his heritage. Even the Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, described that as ‘the textbook definition of a racist comment.’
To this day, Trump has never apologized to Judge Curiel.
But for Trump, that is just par for the course.
This is someone who retweets white supremacists online, like the user who goes by the name ‘white-genocide-TM.’ Trump took this fringe bigot with a few dozen followers and spread his message to 11 million people.
His campaign famously posted an anti-Semitic image – a Star of David imposed over a sea of dollar bills – that first appeared on white supremacist websites.
The Trump campaign has also selected a prominent white nationalist leader as a delegate in California. And they only dropped him under pressure.
When asked in a nationally televised interview whether he would disavow the support of David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Trump wouldn’t do it. Only later, again under mounting pressure, did he backtrack.
And when Trump was asked about anti-Semitic slurs and death threats coming from his supporters, he refused to condemn them.
Through it all, he has continued pushing discredited conspiracy theories with racist undertones.
You remember, he said that thousands of American Muslims in New Jersey cheered the 9/11 attacks. They didn’t.
He suggested that Senator Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination. Perhaps in Trump’s mind, because Mr. Cruz was a Cuban immigrant, he must have had something to do with it. And there is absolutely, of course, no evidence of that.
Just recently, Trump claimed that President Obama founded ISIS. And then he repeated that over and over again.
His latest paranoid fever dream is about my health. All I can say is, Donald, dream on.
But, but my friends– but my friends, this is what happens when you treat the National Enquirer like Gospel. They said in October I’d be dead in six months.
It’s also what happens when you listen to the radio host Alex Jones, who claims that 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombings were inside jobs. He even said, and this really is just so disgusting, he even said that the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre were child actors and no one was actually killed there. I don’t know what actually happens in somebody’s mind or how dark their heart must be, to say something like that.
But Trump didn’t challenge those lies. He went on Jones’ show and said, ‘Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.’
This from the man who wants to be President of the United States.
I’ve stood by President Obama’s side as he made the toughest decisions a Commander-in-Chief has to make. In times of crisis, our country depends on steady leadership, clear thinking, calm judgment, because one wrong move can mean the difference between life and death. I know we have veterans here and I know we have families – mothers and spouses and children of people who are currently serving.
The last thing we need in the Situation Room is a loose cannon who can’t tell the difference, or doesn’t care to, between fact and fiction, and who buys so easily into racially-tinged rumors. Someone so detached from reality should never be in charge of making decisions that are as real as they come.
That is yet another reason why Donald Trump is simply temperamentally unfit to be President of the United States.
Now, I hear and I read some people who are saying that his bluster and bigotry is just over-heated campaign rhetoric – an outrageous person saying outrageous things for attention. But look at his policies. The ones that Trump has proposed, they would put prejudice into practice.
And don’t be distracted by his latest efforts to muddy the waters. He may have some new people putting new words in his mouth, but we know where he stands.
He would form a deportation force to round up millions of immigrants and kick them out of the country.
He’d abolish the bedrock constitutional principle that says if you’re born in the United States, you’re an American citizen. He says that children born to undocumented parents in America are ‘anchor babies’ and should be deported. Millions of them.
He’d ban Muslims around the world from entering our country just because of their religion.
Think about that for a minute. How would it actually work? People landing in U.S. airports would line up to get their passports stamped, just like they do now. But in Trump’s America, when they step up to the counter, the immigration officer would ask every single person, ‘What is your religion?’
And then what? What if someone says, ‘I’m a Christian,’ but the agent doesn’t believe him? Do they have to prove it? How would they do that?
Really, ever since the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, America has distinguished itself as a haven for people fleeing religious persecution, believing in religious freedom and religious liberty. Under Donald Trump, America would distinguish itself as the only country in the world to impose a religious test at the border.
Now come to think of it, there actually may be one other place that does that. The so-called Islamic State. The territory ISIS controls. What a cruel irony that someone running for President would equate us with them.
Don’t worry, some will say, as President, Trump will be surrounded by smart advisors who will rein in his worst impulses.
So when a tweet gets under his skin and he wants to retaliate with a cruise missile, maybe cooler heads will convince him not to.
But look at who he’s put in charge of his campaign.
Trump likes to say he only hires the ‘best people.’ But he’s had to fire so many campaign managers it’s like an episode from the Apprentice. And the latest shake-up was designed to – quote – ‘Let Trump be Trump.’ So to do that, he hired Stephen Bannon, the head of a right-wing website, called Breitbart.com, as campaign CEO.
Now to give you a flavor of his work, here are a few headlines they’ve published. And I’m not making this up.
‘Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.’
‘Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?’
‘Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield’
‘Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.’
That one came shortly after the Charleston massacre, when Democrats and Republicans alike were doing everything they could to heal racial divides that Breitbart and Bannon tried to inflame.
Just imagine – Donald Trump reading that and thinking: ‘this is what I need more of in my campaign.’
Now Bannon has nasty things to say about pretty much everyone. This spring, he railed against Speaker Paul Ryan for, quote ‘rubbing his social-justice Catholicism in my nose every second.’ No wonder he’s gone to work for Trump – the only Presidential candidate ever to get into a public feud with the Pope.
It’s truly hard to believe, but according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, Breitbart embraces ‘ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right.’ This is not conservatism as we have known it, this is not Republicanism as we have known it. These are racist ideas. Race-baiting ideas. Anti-Muslim, anti-Immigrant, anti-women –– all key tenets making up an emerging racist ideology known as the ‘Alt-Right.’
Now, Alt-Right is short for ‘Alternative Right.’ The Wall Street Journal describes it as a loose, but organized movement, mostly online, that ‘rejects mainstream conservatism, promotes nationalism and views immigration and multiculturalism as threats to white identity.’
So the de facto merger between Breitbart and the Trump Campaign represents a landmark achievement for this group. A fringe element has effectively taken over the Republican Party.
This is part of a broader story – the rising tide of hardline, right-wing nationalism around the world.
Just yesterday, one of Britain’s most prominent right-wing leaders, a man named, Nigel Farage, who stoked anti-immigrant sentiments to win the referendum to have Britain leave the European Union, campaigned with Donald Trump in Mississippi.
Farage has called for the bar of legal immigrants from public school and health services. Has said women, and I quote, ‘are worth less than men,’ and supports scrapping laws that prevent employers from discriminating based on race. That’s who Donald Trump wants by his side when he is addressing an audience of American voters.
And the grand godfather of this global brand of extreme nationalism is Russian President Vladimir Putin. In fact, Farage regularly appears on Russian propaganda programs. Now he’s standing on the same stage as the Republican nominee. Trump himself heaps praise on Putin and embraces pro-Russian policies. He talks casually of abandoning our NATO allies, recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea, giving the Kremlin a free hand in Eastern Europe. American Presidents from Truman, to Reagan, to Bush and Clinton, to Obama, have rejected the kind of approach Trump is taking on Russia. And we should, too.
All of this adds up to something we have never seen before. Of course there’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, a lot of it rising from 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.
On David Duke’s radio show the other day, the mood was jubilant. ‘We appear to have taken over the Republican Party,’ one white supremacist said. Duke laughed. ‘No, there’s still more work to do,’ he replied.
So no one should have any illusions about what’s really going on here. The names may have changed. Racists now call themselves ‘racialists.’ White supremacists now call themselves ‘white nationalists.’ The paranoid fringe now calls itself ‘alt-right.’ But the hate burns just as bright.
And now Trump is trying to rebrand himself as well. But don’t be fooled.
There’s an old Mexican proverb that says ‘Tell me with whom you walk, and I will tell you who you are.’
But we know who Trump is. A few words on a teleprompter won’t change that.
He says he wants to ‘make America great again,’ but more and more it seems as though his real message seems to be ‘Make America hate again.’
And this isn’t just about one election. It’s about who we are as a nation. It’s about the kind of example we want to set for our children and grandchildren.
Next time you see Trump rant on television, think about all the children listening across America. Kids hear a lot more than we think.
Parents and teachers are already worrying about what they call the ‘Trump Effect.’ They report that bullying and harassment are on the rise in our schools, especially targeting students of color, Muslims, and immigrants. At a recent high school basketball game in Indiana, white students held up Trump signs and taunted Latino players on the opposing team with chants of ‘Build the wall!’ and ‘Speak English.’ After a similar incident in Iowa, one frustrated school principal said, ‘They see it in a presidential campaign and now it’s OK for everyone to say this.’
We wouldn’t tolerate this kind of behavior before and we wouldn’t tolerate it in our own homes. And we shouldn’t stand for it in a presidential candidate.
My friends, this is a moment of reckoning for every Republican dismayed that the Party of Lincoln has become the Party of Trump. It’s a moment of reckoning for all of us who love our country and believe that America is better than this.
Twenty years ago, when Bob Dole accepted the Republican nomination, he pointed to the exits in the convention hall and told any racists in the Party to get out.
The week after 9/11, George W. Bush went to a mosque and declared for everyone to hear that Muslims ‘love America just as much as I do.’
In 2008, John McCain told his own supporters that they were wrong about the man he was trying to defeat. Senator McCain made sure they knew – Barack Obama, he said, is an American citizen and ‘a decent person.’
We need that kind of leadership again.
We can have our disagreements, and believe me, I understand that. I think that’s healthy. We need good debates, but we need to do it in a respectful way, not finger pointing and blaming, and stirring up this bigotry and prejudice.
Every day, more Americans are standing up and saying ‘enough is enough’ – including a lot of Republicans. And I am honored to have their support in this campaign.
And I promise you this: with your help, I will be a president for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For those who vote for me and for those who vote against me. I will be a president for all Americans.
Because I truly believe we are stronger together.
This is a vision for the future rooted in our values and reflected in a rising generation of young people. The young people in america today are the most open, diverse, and connected generation we have ever seen.
How many of you saw any of the Olympics? Right? I was so proud, I always get so carried away whenever the Olympics are on. And you look at the diversity of our athletes – look at our fabulous Olympic team representing the United Stated of America. Ibtihaj Muhammad, an African-American Muslim from New Jersey, won the bronze medal in fencing with grace and skill. Would she even have a place in Donald Trump’s America?
And I will tell you, when I was growing up, in so many parts of our country, Simone Manuel wouldn’t have been allowed to swim in the same public pool as Katie Ledecky. And now together on our swimming team they’re winning Olympic medals as teammates.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think we have a person to waste. We want to build an America where everyone has a place. Where if you work hard and do your part you can get ahead and stay ahead. That’s the basic bargain of America. And we cannot get to where we need to be, unless we move forward together and stand up against prejudice and paranoia. And prove, again, that America is great because America is good.
Thank you all so very much, let’s go out and win the election. God bless you and God bless the United States of America.”