Hillary Clinton is embracing the symbolism of Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech, arguing that the nation needs to repair its divisions after a series of high-profile shootings.
Clinton’s campaign said the Democratic presidential nominee would use the backdrop of the Old State House in Springfield, Illinois, on Wednesday to discuss the importance of uniting the country and healing divisions in the nation’s politics and culture.
Lincoln delivered his address about the perils of slavery in June 1858 to the state Republican convention, famously declaring that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” He was defeated in his Senate bid that year but elected president two years later.
Returning to the site of Lincoln’s speech, Clinton intends to address race relations in the aftermath of the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers who were working at a public protest over fatal police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.
Clinton is not the first to reach for Lincoln’s legacy. President Barack Obama launched his first presidential campaign in 2007 in a chilly outdoor rally on the steps of the Old State Capitol, echoing Lincoln’s calls for unity before the Civil War.
Her campaign said the speech will build off remarks last Friday to the African Methodist Episcopal Church convention in Philadelphia, where she pointed to the recent violence and declared there is “something wrong with our country.”
“We have to find a way to repair these wounds and close these divides. The great genius and salvation of the United States is our capacity to do and be better,” Clinton said last week in Philadelphia. “We need to find a way to do that again today-because it’s critical to everything else we want to achieve.”
Clinton has often been viewed as a polarizing figure during her more than two decades in national politics. But she has sought to present herself as a unifying force against Republican Donald Trump, pointing to the businessman’s inflammatory statements about Muslims, Hispanics and others.
Trump, in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, predicted that protests against police violence that followed last week’s slaying of the five police officers in Dallas “might be just the beginning for this summer.”
In her Philadelphia speech, Clinton spoke of the shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. Clinton said that as president she would urge white Americans to gain a better understanding of the anxiety many blacks feel in dealing with law enforcement.
She also said that Americans need to recognize the sacrifice of the slain police officers and their families, “who lived every day with the fear that something like this would happen and will always be proud of their service and sacrifice.”