Clinton says Trump campaign is ‘pitting Americans against Americans’

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Hillary Clinton delivered a speech on race, Trump and handguns from a statehouse in Springfield, Illinois, on Wednesday, accusing Trump of stoking mistrust

In a speech on race and violence in the wake of high-profile police shootings of black Americans and the sniper attack on Dallas police officer last week, Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of cynically fanning the flames of racial division.

Clinton called Trumps campaign as divisive as any we have seen in our lifetimes and said it is built on stoking mistrust and pitting Americans against Americans.

The address was delivered from the statehouse in Springfield, Illinois, where then senator Barack Obama first announced his candidacy for chairwoman more than eight years ago and where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous House Divided speech in 1858. Clinton repeatedly alluded to Lincoln in her calls for unity and mutual understanding.

Clinton expressed support both for law enforcement, and for protesters and activists trying police reform, proclaiming we need to listen to those who tell black lives matter. She quoth the recent deaths of Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile, as well as Laquan McDonald and Sandra Bland as examples of black Americans dying after police encounters where time after time , no one is held accountable. Clinton added: Surely we can all agree thats deeply incorrect and needs to change. At the same hour, she asked Americans to put themselves in the shoes of police officers kissing their kids and spouses every day and heading off to a dangerous task we need them to do.

Clinton also reaffirmed her commitment, in the wake of the Dallas attack that left five police officers who had been patrolling a peaceful protest dead, to getting military grade weapons off the street and to seeking universal background checks as president.

But most of Clintons statements were spent haranguing Trump for his campaign rhetoric, including his reaction to Black Lives Matter protests against police violence from an interview on Tuesday night. He said he understands systemic bias against black people because even against me the organizations of the system is rigged, Clinton told. Even this, the killing of people is somehow all about him.

Clinton hit Trump for all of the most well-publicised racist and xenophobic policy proposals of his campaign thus far, including the roundup and expulsion of undocumented immigrants and banning and database tracking of US Muslims. Clinton noted that his campaign has barred journalists with whom he disagrees from events and encouraged Americans to imagine if Trump, as chairwoman, had not just Twitter and cable news to go after his foes and critics but also the IRS and our entire military.

She also accused the presumptive Republican nominee of a dangerous lack of knowledge about the constitution, including an embarrassing gaffe last week where, at a meeting with congressional Republicans, Trump expressed his desire to protect article XII of the constitution. There are VII articles in the document.

The very first thing a new chairwoman does is take an oath to protect and defend the constitution, she told. To do that with any meaning you have to know whats in it and you have to respect whats in it.

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