SAN DIEGO (AP) — Hillary Clinton tore into Donald Trump’s foreign policy experience and temperament in a blistering speech Thursday, arguing that “we cannot let him roll the dice with America.”
During a speech in San Diego, the former secretary of state unloaded on her likely general election opponent, counting down reasons he is not qualified — from his aggressive Twitter attacks to his emotional outbursts. She predicted dire consequences if he is elected, saying a Trump presidency could lead the U.S. into war abroad and ignite economic catastrophe at home.
“There’s no risk of people losing their lives if you blow up a golf course deal, but it doesn’t work like that in world affairs,” Clinton said before about 300 people gathered in a ballroom. “The stakes in global statecraft are infinitely higher and more complex than in the world of luxury hotels
Clinton’s robust assault on Trump also was widely carried on television.
It came as she is ramping up her criticism of the presumptive Republican nominee and trying to quell concerns within her own party that she doesn’t have a plan of attack for the general election. She assailed Trump over his past statements, criticizing him for seeking to ban Muslims from entering the country, for talking about leaving NATO and for suggesting Japan could one day acquire nuclear weapons.
“He is not just unprepared, he is temperamentally unfit,” Clinton said. “This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes.”
Emphasizing her experience as first lady, senator and secretary of state, Clinton said she would provide the steady diplomacy the country needs. She said that unlike Trump, she knew how to negotiate complex deals, understood world affairs and recognized what it means to deploy American troops.
“I’m going to keep American security at the heart of my campaign,” Clinton said.
Clinton and Trump offer starkly different visions of U.S. foreign policy. Clinton’s detail-oriented proposals reflect the traditional approach of both major parties. Despite differences on some issues, such as the Iraq war and Iran, Democratic and Republican presidents have been generally consistent on policies affecting China, Russia, North Korea, nuclear proliferation, trade, alliances and many other issues.
Trump says U.S. foreign policy has failed. His strong-man “America first” approach is short on details but appeals to the emotions of angry voters who believe that successive leaders have weakened the country, made it vulnerable to terrorism and have been duped into bad trade deals that have cost American jobs.
Trump accused Clinton of lying about his foreign policy plans at a rally at an airport hangar in Sacramento, California, Wednesday night.
“She lies. She made a speech and she’s making another one tomorrow. And they sent me a copy of the speech and it was such lies about my foreign policy,” Trump said.
“They said I want Japan … to get nuclear weapons. Give me a break,” he objected. “I want Japan and Germany and Saudi Arabia and South Korea and many of the NATO nations — they owe us tremendous. We’re taking care of all these people. And what I want them to do is pay up.”
Trump has suggested in the past that he might be OK with Japan one day obtaining nuclear weapons.
Clinton’s campaign hopes her foreign policy experience will appeal to voters who may be wary of Trump’s bombastic style and lack of international experience. They hope those points, combined with Trump’s controversial statements about women and minorities, will give Clinton opportunities with independent and moderate Republican voters.
In recent days, Clinton has criticized Trump over his past business practices, his sometimes-slow-to-be-fulfilled promises to raise money for veterans and his now defunct education company, Trump University. On Wednesday she called Trump a “fraud” and said the real estate mogul had taken advantage of vulnerable Americans.
Trump has pushed back. On the education company, he has maintained that customers were overwhelmingly satisfied with the offerings.
While Clinton is stressing her concerns about Trump, she is still dealing with her primary race. She needs just 70 more delegates from states voting Tuesday to win the Democratic primary, but is dealing with a tough fight with rival Bernie Sanders in California, where the Vermont senator is gaining in polling. Clinton plans to be in California though Monday as she seeks to avoid a primary loss there.