Clin­ton, Trump take gloves off in fight for the White House

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

PHILADEL­PHIA — Hil­lary Clin­ton and Don­ald Trump traded in­sults at op­po­site ends of the coun­try on Fri­day, tak­ing their fight for the White House to ri­val bat­tle­ground states and por­tray­ing starkly dif­fer­ent vi­sions of Amer­ica.

One of the most di­vi­sive US cam­paigns in mod­ern his­tory is en­ter­ing a new chap­ter with Repub­li­cans and Democrats hav­ing se­lected their nom­i­nees, leav­ing the can­di­dates slog­ging it out be­fore Elec­tion Day on Novem­ber 8.

Clin­ton fol­lowed her his­toric ac­cep­tance speech on Thurs­day as the first woman pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee for a ma­jor party with a rally in Philadel­phia be­fore em­bark­ing on a bus tour of Rust Belt states Penn­syl­va­nia and Ohio.

In Colorado, a key state out west, her Repub­li­can op­po­nent promised “no more Mr Nice Guy,” trash­ing Clin­ton’s speech as “av­er­age,” call­ing her a liar and promis­ing to end the mi­gra­tion of Syr­ian refugees.

“I’m start­ing to agree with you,” the 70-year-old told sup­port­ers chant­ing “lock her up, lock her up” in Colorado Springs. “I’m tak­ing the gloves off,” he said. “Just re­mem­ber this Trump is go­ing to be no more Mr Nice Guy.”

Just over 100 days be­fore the elec­tion, Amer­i­cans are be­ing asked to choose be­tween two sharply po­larised vi­sions — and be­tween two mon­u­men­tally un­pop­u­lar can­di­dates.

“I can’t think of an elec­tion that is more im­por­tant, cer­tainly in my life­time,” Clin­ton told sup­port­ers at the rally in Philadel­phia.

The 68-year-old Demo­crat por­trays Trump as a threat to democ­racy, seek­ing to woo mod­er­ate Repub­li­cans re­pelled by the former re­al­ity TV star and shore up a coali­tion with pro­gres­sives on the left of her party.

“Don­ald Trump painted a pic­ture, a neg­a­tive, dark, di­vi­sive pic­ture of a coun­try in de­cline,” she said.

“I’m not telling you that ev­ery­thing is peachy keen — I’m telling you we’ve made progress, but we have work to do.”

She prom­ises to fo­cus on parts of the coun­try that have been “left out and left be­hind” — con­stituen­cies where de­clin­ing liv­ing stan­dards, fears about safety and lost jobs have fu­eled sup­port for Trump.

Trump, who has never pre­vi­ously held of­fice, por­trays him­self as the law and or­der can­di­date — the out­sider who will shake up an out-of-touch Wash­ing­ton, re­store jobs, cut the deficit and end il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.

In Colorado, he goaded Clin­ton on her fail­ure to hold a news con­fer­ence since De­cem­ber and ac­cused her of ly­ing to the FBI over its in­ves­ti­ga­tion of her email scan­dal as sec­re­tary of state.

“We’re go­ing to stop the Syr­ian mi­grants from com­ing into the United States,” he said re­fer­ring to the killing of a French priest, whose at­tack­ers pro­claimed al­le­giance to the Is­lamic State ex­trem­ist group.

But the crowd stopped cheer­ing when he re­hashed past con­tro­ver­sies of him mock­ing a dis­abled reporter — deny­ing he had — and im­plied that a TV reporter had grilled him be­cause she was men­stru­at­ing.

Trump’s cam­paign, which has trailed in fundrais­ing be­hind Clin­ton, re­leased a new ad on Fri­day say­ing that in Clin­ton’s Amer­ica “things get worse” with taxes go­ing up, ter­ror­ism spread­ing and vot­ers los­ing jobs, homes and hopes. “Change that makes Amer­ica great again,” the video promised.

Trump also posted a so­cial me­dia clip mock­ing Clin­ton’s hus­band and former pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton for ap­pear­ing to doze off dur­ing her speech.

Clin­ton needs to win over dis­grun­tled work­ing class vot­ers, who have formed the back­bone of Trump’s base. She trashes the real es­tate mogul for mak­ing so many of his prod­ucts over­seas and for alien­at­ing women, His­pan­ics and Mus­lims. On her bus tour, she is be­ing ac­com­pa­nied by her hus­band, her run­ning mate Vir­ginia Se­na­tor Tim Kaine and his wife Anne.

The so-called Rust Belt states are vi­tal parts of al­most any strat­egy to gar­ner the 270 elec­toral col­lege votes needed to win the pres­i­dency. “We’re go­ing to be draw­ing that con­trast be­tween Hil­lary Clin­ton’s plans for our coun­try and Don­ald Trump’s empty prom­ises,” Kaine said Fri­day.

Ex­perts pre­dict that “neg­a­tive par­ti­san­ship” — vot­ing against a can­di­date — will play a ma­jor role in de­cid­ing who makes it to the White House.

Clin­ton’s un­pop­u­lar­ity is sec­ond only to Trump’s, with a dis­ap­proval rat­ing of 55 per­cent com­pared to his 57 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to re­cent av­er­ages.

Rat­ings from Nielsen showed that 2.2 mil­lion more peo­ple had tuned into watch Trump’s ac­cep­tance speech last week than Clin­ton’s on Thurs­day.

When it comes to voter in­ten­tions, Trump and Clin­ton are in a sta­tis­ti­cal dead heat, ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent poll av­er­age from RealClearPol­i­tics.

Mean­while, re­spond­ing to ac­cu­sa­tions by the fa­ther of an Amer­i­can Mus­lim sol­dier killed in Iraq that Don­ald Trump has “sac­ri­ficed noth­ing”, the bil­lion­aire said he had made many sac­ri­fices, such as em­ploy­ing thou­sands of peo­ple.

Tonight, we are hon­oured to stand here as the par­ents of Cap­tain Hu­mayun Khan, and as pa­tri­otic Amer­i­can Mus­lims with un­di­vided loy­alty to our coun­try.

Like many im­mi­grants, we came to this coun­try emp­ty­handed. We be­lieved in Amer­i­can democ­racy — that with hard work and the good­ness of this coun­try, we could share in and con­trib­ute to its bless­ings.

We were blessed to raise our three sons in a na­tion where they were free to be them­selves and fol­low their dreams.

Our son, Hu­mayun, had dreams of be­ing a mil­i­tary lawyer. But he put those dreams aside the day he sac­ri­ficed his life to save his fel­low sol­diers. Hil­lary Clin­ton was right when she called my son “the best of Amer­ica.”

If it was up to Don­ald Trump, he never would have been in Amer­ica. Don­ald Trump con­sis­tently smears the char­ac­ter of Mus­lims. He [Trump] dis­re­spects other mi­nori­ties, women, judges, even his own party lead­er­ship. He vows to build walls and ban us from this coun­try.

Don­ald Trump, you are ask­ing Amer­i­cans to trust you with our fu­ture. Let me ask you: Have you even read the US con­sti­tu­tion? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this doc­u­ment, look for the words lib­erty and equal pro­tec­tion of law.

Khizr Khan — whose son Hu­mayun was killed at the age of 28 — ac­cused the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee of vil­i­fy­ing US Mus­lims, in a steely re­buke that elec­tri­fied the Demo­cratic party con­ven­tion on Thurs­day.

“Go look at the graves of brave pa­tri­ots who died de­fend­ing the United States of Amer­ica,” Khan said, di­rectly ad­dress­ing Trump. “You will see all faiths, gen­ders and eth­nic­i­ties. You have sac­ri­ficed noth­ing and no one.”

Trump, a prop­erty mogul and former re­al­ity TV star, brushed off Khan’s words in an in­ter­view on Satur­day with ABC News, stat­ing that he thinks he has made ‘a lot of sac­ri­fices.’ “I work very, very hard. I’ve cre­ated thou­sands and thou­sands of jobs, tens of thou­sands of jobs, built great struc­tures. I’ve had tremen­dous suc­cess. I think I’ve done a lot,” the 70-year-old said.

Hu­mayun Khan was killed by a sui­cide bomber in Iraq as he ap­proached a car packed with ex­plo­sives. Be­fore en­list­ing in the army, he had planned to study law at univer­sity. — AP

Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton and Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump

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