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Clinton Delivers Remarks Linking Trump To White Supremacists

Hillary Clinton delivered a speech Thursday aimed at tying Donald Trump to white supremacists and the "alt-right" movement.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

The major party candidates for president have spent the last day accusing each other of bigotry. Donald Trump actually called Hillary Clinton a bigot last night, though he removed that line from his stump speech today. And Hillary Clinton delivered a speech in Reno today, making a case that Donald Trump's campaign is fueled by, quote, "prejudice and paranoia."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HILLARY CLINTON: Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters. It's a disturbing preview of what kind of president he'd be.

MCEVERS: NPR's Tamara Keith is on the line from Reno now. Hi there, Tam.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hi.

MCEVERS: So what else did Hillary Clinton say today?

KEITH: Well, she made sort of a twofold argument - one that he has fanned racism and that he has failed to distance himself far enough from white supremacists, though she was very careful not to call Trump a racist. And later, reporters tried asking her, well, why didn't you call him a racist? And she simply didn't answer that question. She's been avoiding that.

She did call Trump out for retweeting white supremacists and mentioned how many white nationalists have embraced his candidacy. She called him out for some of his language on Mexicans and Muslims directly. And she also talked about some of the Internet conspiracy theories Trump has nodded to and tied him to fringe, white ring (ph), often racist movements on the Internet.

MCEVERS: Let's - these are movements called the alt-right. Basically they've been getting a lot of attention recently. What else did she say - have to say about them?

KEITH: She quoted from news reports describing it as a loosely associated movement that is protective of white identity. It has homes in corners of the Internet where white supremacy has thrived. She called out Trump's new campaign CEO, Steve Bannon, who used to run the right wing website Breitbart that often overlaps with alt-right rhetoric.

And she essentially said Donald Trump is not in the same universe as former Republican candidates like Bob Dole and President George W. Bush.

KEITH: Donald Trump responded in a speech today in New Hampshire. Let's play a bit of that.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument. You're racist. You're racist. You're racist. They keep saying it. You're racist. It's a tired, disgusting argument.

MCEVERS: And, Tam, how much does Clinton's message today have to do with Trump's attempts in recent days to reach out to minority voters?

KEITH: It has a lot to do with it. Today she was supposed to be talking about her economic plans, and that changed in light of recent moves by the Trump campaign. And it's not clear whether Trump is really trying to get minority voters onboard or whether his message is really tailored to suburban, white voters who are concerned about some of his rhetoric and who don't want to vote for someone who is perceived as racist, which many polls say that he is perceived as racist. And it also seems clear that Hillary Clinton, with this speech today, was sending a message to those same suburban, white voters and Republicans.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: And now Trump is trying to rebrand himself as well, but don't be fooled. There's an old Mexican proverb that says, tell me with whom you walk, and I will tell you who you are. But we know who Trump is.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: A few words on a teleprompter won't change that.

CLINTON: Campaigns always tend to get pretty heated as we head into the final weeks. How remarkable is it that the argument has landed on basically tying your opponent to racism?

KEITH: It's truly remarkable. The next line in her speech was, Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again; he's saying make America hate again. I mean this is such a departure from the typical fights over policy and taxes and things like that. And it's certainly a sign that we're in for a long 75 days.

MCEVERS: That's NPR's Tamara Keith. Thank you.

KEITH: You're welcome.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

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