Hillary Clinton: "The Party of Lincoln has become the party of Trump"
MINNEAPOLIS – Facing Democrats who have concerns about her presidential candidacy, Hillary Rodham Clinton galvanized them on Friday with a searing attack on Republicans, saying “the party of Lincoln has become the party of Trump” as a result of Republicans’ reluctance to repudiate Donald J. Trump and his divisive remarks about immigrants, women and others.
Mixing humor with a fiery display of disgust, both of which drew standing ovations and chants of “Hillary!” at a Democratic National Committee meeting here, Mrs. Clinton sought to position herself as the fiercest fighter the Democrats could put up in 2016 against the eventual Republican nominee – and the one best equipped to strengthen the party organization and help elect more Democrats in 2016.
Her applause lines drew such enthusiastic reactions that, for a moment, the ongoing controversy over her email server – and the possibility that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. might enter the presidential race – receded, as the crowd seemed to revel in her broadsides against Republicans.
“Their flamboyant front-runner has grabbed a lot of attention lately, but if you look at everyone else’s policies, they’re pretty much the same,” Mrs. Clinton said to several hundred Democrats. “They’re Trump without the pizzazz or the hair.”
Turning from smiling to stern, she continued: “You hear Mr. Trump say hateful things about immigrants, even about their babies. But how many others disagree with him, or support a real path to citizenship, or draw the line at repealing the 14th Amendment? Today the party of Lincoln has become the party of Trump. Think about it.”
Mrs. Clinton laced into Mr. Trump for saying Thursday that she “doesn’t have a clue” on dealing with issues important to women.
“Really? I mean, you can’t make this stuff up, folks,” she said. “Trump actually says he would do a much better job for women than I would. Now that’s a general election debate that’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Mrs. Clinton, one of four Democratic candidates scheduled to speak here on Friday, spoke for 25 minutes even though the party’s rules restricted speeches to about 10 minutes. She presented herself as the candidate whose coattails other Democrats could ride into office in 2016.
The banquet room was packed with supporters of Mrs. Clinton, though even some of them have expressed growing concern that she has not been able to put to rest questions about her use of a private email server as secretary of state. She did not address that issue in her speech but told reporters afterward that she would continue trying to clarify the issue.
“No promises to end the era of mass incarceration or say clearly and loudly, ‘Black lives matter,’” said Mrs. Clinton, whose choice of words inspired several audience members to chant “black lives matter” along with her.