Hillary Clinton has lacerated Donald Trump’s fitness to lead the United States in a tour-de-force assault on his record and temperament, branding him too dangerous and unstable to be entrusted with nuclear codes and warning of economic crisis if he were to reach the White House, The Guardian reports.
The Democratic frontrunner and former secretary of state made the sobering yet blistering assault in a speech in San Diego on Thursday which sought, in effect, to disqualify the Republican presumptive nominee as a valid candidate.
“Donald Trump’s ideas aren’t just different, they’re dangerously incoherent. They’re not even really ideas, just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies,” she said. “He is not just unprepared. He is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility.”
Flanked by US flags for the widely trailed address, Clinton said a Trump presidency could lead to catastrophe. “He should not have the nuclear codes because it’s very easy to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because someone got under his very thin skin. We cannot let him roll the dice with America.”
Speaking on the eve of primary elections that are expected to push Clinton past the threshold of delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination, signalling the official start of the general election, Clinton made a tacit plea to independents and moderate Republicans, saying Trump denigrated US power even when Ronald Reagan was president.
With Bernie Sanders threatening to spoil her nomination glory by winning California, the speech also served as an appeal to Democrats to unite against the real foe. “We can’t put the security of our children and grandchildren in Donald Trump’s hands.” As president, she said, “I believe he will take our country down a truly dangerous path.”
She continued: “Imagine Donald Trump sitting in the situation room making life or death decisions on behalf of the United States. Do we want him making those calls? Someone thin-skinned and quick to anger. Do we want his finger anywhere near the button? Making Donald Trump our commander-in-chief would be a historic mistake.”
The former first lady deconstructed Trump’s policy positions as a recipe for alienating allies, emboldening enemies and coddling dictators. Clinton pointed out how Trump had alienated allies such as the British prime minister, the mayor of London, the president of Mexico and Pope Francis.
She also noted his praise for Russian’s Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. “I will leave it to the psychiatrists to explain his affection for tyrants … If Donald gets his way they’ll be celebrating in the Kremlin. We cannot let that happen.”
“He says he has foreign policy experience because he ran the Miss Universe pageant in Russia,” she said, adding at another point in the speech: “This isn’t reality television, this is actual reality.”
Later, Clinton added: “It is not hard to see how a Trump presidency could lead to a global economic crisis.”
The former secretary of state’s speech, staged in front of a wall of US flags, rebutted a foreign policy address Trump made in April in which he promised to save “humanity itself” and “shake the rust off America’s foreign policy”.
Trump pitched himself as a serious commander-in-chief in that speech with an unusually detailed – and scripted – address to policymakers in Washington last April.
Seeking Reagan’s mantle, he promised a foreign policy strategy that would “endure for several generations” by seeking peace through strength. He accused Clinton and Barack Obama of “reckless, rudderless and aimless” behaviour in the Middle East and said he would place American security above all else, replacing “chaos with peace”.
Critics said the speech contained multiple contradictions and upended previous policy positions, leaving in doubt his views on talking to Iran, pressuring Nato allies to shoulder more defence costs, nation building, wooing goodwill in the Arab world, and whether he thinks the US foreign policy should be “unpredictable” or “disciplined, deliberate and consistent”.
Clinton’s expected intervention on Thursday came after another tumultuous political week that has put Trump on the defensive over his allegedly fraudulent university, prompting him to make vitriolic attacks on the judge hearing the case.
The former first lady, meanwhile, is battling to fend off a surging Sanders campaign that has closed a big deficit and threatens to snatch victory in California’s 7 June Democratic primary. According to the Associated Press she is just 71 delegates shy of the 2,383 needed to clinch the nomination, and could do so with big wins in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and New Jersey, which vote before California. Losing the Golden State, however, would be an important symbolic blow.
Thursday’s speech in the historic Prado district in Balboa park, a landmark in San Diego, a city with military tradition, signalled a new gloves-off approach to Trump and a probably fractious presidential race in the lead-up to November.
In the midst of her speech on Thursday, Trump used Twitter to swipe back in typical style. “Bad performance by Crooked Hillary Clinton!” he tweeted. “Reading poorly from the telepromter [sic]! She doesn’t even look presidential!”
The Clinton campaign retaliated by retweeting Trump’s remark alongside a line from her speech. “Imagine if he had not just his Twitter account at his disposal when he’s angry, but America’s entire arsenal,” she said.