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Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton trade accusations of racism, and Trump rethinks immigration

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton trade accusations of racism, and Trump rethinks immigration


SUSAN DAVIS: Presidential politics went from
unpredictable to unbelievable this week. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton exchanged
charges of bigotry, paranoia, and corruption. And that’s just the half of it. I’m Susan Davis, filling in for Gwen Ifill,
tonight on Washington Week. The presidential race gets personal as Donald
Trump and Hillary Clinton exchange insults and accusations of racism and bigotry. FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON:
(From video.) From the start, Donald Trump has built his
campaign on prejudice and paranoia. DONALD TRUMP: (From video.) She lies, and she smears, and she paints decent
Americans – you – as racists. MRS. CLINTON: (From video.) He says he wants to make America great again. His real message seems to be make America
hate again. MR. TRUMP: (From video.) Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people
of color only as votes. MS. DAVIS: We will get analysis on Trump’s decision
to dial back his hardline stance on immigration, and support for mass deportations, and the
new questions about a possible connection between the Democratic candidate and donors
to the Clinton Foundation when she was secretary of state. Joining us, Robert Costa, national political
reporter for The Washington Post; Jeanne Cummings, political editor for The Wall Street Journal;
And Jeff Zeleny, senior Washington correspondent for CNN. ANNOUNCER: Award-winning reporting and analysis. Covering history as it happens. From our nation’s capital, this is Washington
Week with Gwen Ifill. Once again, from Washington, sitting in for
Gwen Ifill this week, Susan Davis of NPR. MS. DAVIS: Good evening. Hillary Clinton did everything but call Donald
Trump a racist during a campaign stop in Nevada this week. She accused him of race baiting. MRS. CLINTON: (From video.) I hear and I read some people who are saying,
well, his bluster and his bigotry is just overheated campaign rhetoric, an outrageous
person saying outrageous things for attention. But look at his policies. The ones that Trump has proposed, they would
put prejudice into practice. MS. DAVIS: It didn’t take long for Trump to
push back after he called his Democratic challenger a bigot. MR. TRUMP: (From video.) 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. And it’s so totally predictable. They’re failing so badly. MS. DAVIS: Both candidates stepped up their rhetoric
in ways we haven’t seen before. Jeff, you were with Clinton yesterday when
she gave this speech. What is motivating this new, sharper line
of attack against Donald Trump? JEFF ZELENY: Well, I think one thing is first
and foremost. She wants to stop any pivot that may be going
on, or any attempt at a pivot that Donald Trump is doing. I mean, he has changed his campaign in many
ways in recent days. He’s addressing small, Hispanic audiences
and African-American audiences. And he’s softening his tone sometimes, sometimes
not. But I think the Clinton campaign, and she
wants to shine a light on everything that he’s been saying, his greatest hits, if
you will, his most controversial hits. And they want to freeze this race in place
where it is right now. They do not want it to get away from it. But I was struck in the audience watching
her speak, it was not like any other Trump speech we’ve heard where she mocks him and
says he’s not ready for the Oval Office. Her tone was so different. We’ve seldom heard her tone like that. And she mentioned so many Republicans. Bob Dole – she said in 1996 he said: If
you’re a racist, leave this convention hall. George W. Bush, who embraced Muslims after
9/11. John McCain, who, you know, said Senator Obama
is a good family man, on and on and on. Speaker Ryan, she came to his defense, Ted
Cruz’s defense, saying Donald Trump is not a normal Republican. I mean, I don’t know how many Republicans
are going to accept her olive branch or accept her hand, but that’s who she was trying
to speak to yesterday. We’ll see if it worked. She definitely drew attention to the fact
that this is not a normal race. MS. DAVIS: So she, in this speech, is trying to
tie Trump to what is called the “Alt-Right.” I think this is a new term for a lot of people. What exactly is the “Alt-Right”? MR. ZELENY: Well, she actually read a definition
from The Wall Street Journal. “Alt-Right,” not – you know, she could
have chosen a lot of publications. She decided The Wall Street Journal. JEANNE CUMMINGS: But she chose the best. (Laughs.) MR. ZELENY: Exactly. And the “Alt-Right” movement, by and large,
is, you know, the – as she said, it’s the, you know, conspiracy theories from the
darkest corners of the Internet. It’s white supremacists. It’s nationalists. That’s not necessarily right, but it is
the – it’s different than your traditional GOP. It is, you know, basically what Breitbart,
the conservative news site, hosts, who now is the CEO of the Trump campaign – he is
the leader of the “Alt-Right” movement. So this is what she was trying to think scare
people with that term and definition. But it is something that has given rise to
– or given attention to a lot of conspiracy theories that she says don’t exist. MS. DAVIS: Robert, we have the Democratic nominee
calling the Republican nominee a racist this week – or linking him to racist ideologies. Where were all the Republicans defending Donald
Trump? We didn’t seem to hear a lot of that. ROBERT COSTA: A lot of Republicans are reluctant
– especially if they’re in their own reelection races – to be out there forcefully as an
advocate for Donald Trump on these racial kind of controversies, or racially tinged
controversies, because when you look across the map in swing states like North Carolina
and Pennsylvania and Ohio there are competitive House and Senate races, Illinois, New Hampshire
as well. And to inject race into any of these contests,
it makes a lot of leaders in Congress and elected officials wary. And that’s why you see House Speaker Paul
Ryan, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, they’re trying to run focused, Capitol Hill-concentrated
campaigns on their own tax agendas, traditional Republican orthodoxy, that they’re fine
with linking themselves in ways to Trump’s populism, but they really want to run their
own races. MS. DAVIS: The week started with Trump launching
a planned outreach to minority voters, who polls show he’s struggling to win over. This is what he had to say. MR. TRUMP: (From video.) You’re living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. Fifty-eight percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose? (Cheers.) MS. DAVIS: Jeanne, is what the hell do you have
to lose a message that is working with black voters? MS. CUMMINGS: No, it’s not. And the initial reactions – there were many
influential African-American leaders who were offended by it. They need help. Both sides know it. And the idea that, well, just vote for me
because, you know, you’ve got that crappy neighborhood and, you know, it couldn’t
get worse, could it, is just really insulting. And there are many, of course, African-Americans
who are not in those neighborhoods who were also insulted. They’re in the middle class. They’re wealthy. And so it just kind of painted them all with
a really wicked brush. And so that – I have yet to see, other than
attacking the Democrats, Donald Trump put out any kind of coherent, real policy-oriented,
this is a good reason for a Hispanic, an African-American, or any other minority to vote for him. MS. DAVIS: But, Robert, is this conversation really
about Trump reaching black voters? MR. COSTA: Well, there is a theory in a lot of
Republican circles, and some Democrats certainly view it this way, that Trump’s pitch to
African-American voters is, in part, directed to trying to increase his numbers, which are
in the low single digits among African-Americans and Latinos. But it’s really in a way also to reassure
skittish suburban voters, women in the suburbs of these swing states we’ve been talking
about, who see Trump as an intriguing figure because he’s not a normal Republican, doesn’t
follow traditional Republican ideas. But if they want to move in that direction,
he can’t have this racial sheen on top of his candidacy. So Trump making this overt pitch is, in part,
trying to wash that sheen off. MS. CUMMINGS: Well, the problem he’s got with
suburban women, though, go well-beyond this. And these kind of blunt appeals to minorities
don’t show compassion. They just show that he wants their vote. But they also don’t go anywhere near addressing
the women – the insults to women that began very early in his candidacy, went on for way
too many months during the primary. He has stopped saying things like that of
late, but the Clinton campaign has the clips. MR. ZELENY: And they want to remind people of
everything that he’s said. I mean, that is the goal of the Clinton campaign. We’ve seen – every day almost there’s
a new web ad that’s released, a lot of paid advertisement as well, simply playing back
Donald Trump’s own words. That’s the soundtrack of this campaign on
their side. Her ads use his own words, I mean, markedly
more than her own words – which, you know, is often how it is. But think how many hours of tape there is
of Donald Trump, all the interviews he’s done. And they are happy to play them. MR. COSTA: And one thing I was really struck by
in my reporting this week was Trump himself has often thought of himself as a public figure
who has some popularity with African-Americans, with minority voters because of his lifestyle,
his wealth and success. But when the Trump campaign and the Trump
organization have done research, they’ve shown themselves internally that ever since
2011, 2012, when he was doing the birther crusade against President Obama, questioning
his love of country and his credentials, his numbers with those specific demographic groups
have plummeted. And that’s left him in this vulnerable position
in the low single digits. MS. DAVIS: Well, let’s talk about another demographic
group, because this week we also saw what could have been a remarkable change of position
from Donald Trump on immigration. He seemed to soften his position about what
to do with the undocumented living here. Is this a reflection of the new management
at the Trump campaign? MR. COSTA: So you do have Steve Bannon, the populist
nationalist flamethrower at the top of the campaign as CEO. And you have Kellyanne Conway, a pollster
who’s long tried to get Republicans to moderate their tone on certain issues. But I think it’s a broader discussion from
within the Trump campaign. You have Rudy Giuliani, a confidant of the
candidate, Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor, Kellyanne Conway, versus this Jeff
Sessions-wing of the campaign – the Alabama Senator – Stephen Miller the policy director,
Steve Bannon, the new CEO of the campaign. And there are these two camps that aren’t
exactly at war with each other, but they’re pulling and tugging at Trump telling him:
To win, you have to do X. You either have to fuel up your populism,
or maybe you have to tone down your rhetoric on immigration. And that’s where Trump is right now, spending
every weekend at Bedminster, New Jersey hearing from these two sides. MS. CUMMINGS: But it seems like no matter which
– all these mixed messages just ended up making him make it worse, because he was not
clear. And so he took it from the conservatives. He took it from his own party’s more moderate
wing. He took it from his ex-primary opponents. He drew so much criticism at the end of the
week, and that was self-inflicted, which is so often the case with Donald Trump. MR. ZELENY: I also talked to a few Republicans
this week though who are like, you know, he’s confusing the issue enough. Again, it doesn’t make him look like he’s
so entrenched in that position. He still says, I’m going to build the wall. I think people – the voters I’ve talked
to out there. They like when he says that. They don’t know if he will or not, but they
like what that stands for, much more than the deportation force. That is very controversial. But he has confused this issue. And in some ways that could be helpful to
him. The risk is, if Sarah Palin and others – she
was in The Wall Street Journal this week, you know, sounding the alarm. If she actually starts sounding the alarm
with her megaphone, that could be a huge problem for him. MS. DAVIS: Well, that seems to be a key question,
right? Over and over we’ve heard that there’s
nothing that Trump can do to shake his sort of fundamental, core support. But does changing one of his core positions
in immigration, could that hurt him with his most strongest supporters? MR. COSTA: Well, we always remember that line:
I could go on Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I would still have their support. That’s been Trump’s view for much of the
campaign. It’s been striking to see one of Trump’s
most full-throated surrogates, Ann Coulter, the controversial firebrand commentator coming
out with a book this week about trusting Trump and seeing him as a trustworthy figure. And she made the wry remark that her book
tour could be pretty short if Trump keeps moderating and changing his position on immigration. For now, we’re seeing the right wing of
the GOP stick with Trump. They think at his core – if you listen to
Rush Limbaugh’s show or talk to different people on the right – they still think Trump’s
Trump, and he’s going to build the wall. But there’s more reservation on that side. MS. DAVIS: Jeanne, Clinton had her own troubles
again this week. There was another story about the Clinton
Foundation and her time at the State Department, and new questions raised over the appropriateness
of that relationship. Where are we on that? And how much is this affecting Clinton with
the way voters see her? MS. CUMMINGS: Right. This week started out to be one of Hillary
Clinton’s worst weeks. And they brilliantly changed everything at
the end with the speech that she gave on race. And he gifted her with the mistakes he made
on immigration. But at the beginning of the week, what we
were all focused on was the release of her private calendar, her meetings that she had
at the State Department, and cross-referencing them. Some of those meetings were with substantial
donors to the Clinton Foundation. So ethical questions were being raised. If you made – cut a big check to the Foundation,
did that buy you into a State Department luncheon, discussion on this policy? Or could you gain access to a certain expert
inside of the State Department? Those were some of the issues that were beginning
to bubble up. The campaign pushed back very hard on this,
by noting that she has thousands – she had thousands of meetings. And this constitutes only a handful in comparison
– some tiny fraction of the full menu of meetings that she had over the course of the
two years that were under scrutiny. But those are the questions that she was beginning
the confront. The conversation changed dramatically by the
end of the week. However, new records are going to be released
later both of her calendar, and more emails are coming. So she’s not out of the woods yet. MR. ZELENY: It’s striking to me that we are
still – I mean, almost at Labor Day, almost beyond, and they still have not resolved this
email controversy. It is frustrating to many people inside her
campaign. It’s frustrating to many Democrats that
I was speaking to all week, and this is an issue of the Clintons’ own making. From the very beginning, when she decided
to put that private server in her house when she was the secretary of state, many people
believe because they didn’t want this to come out about, you know, who she was meeting
with, the donors and other things. But it is – it’s frustrated a lot of her
supporters how slow they have been to dispatch with this. And there are 15,000 new emails and other
documents that are being reviewed now that the FBI found during their yearlong investigation. The State Department is going back through
them again. We don’t know if there’s anything – any
smoking gun in there. So far there hasn’t necessarily been. But it creates the appearance of conflict. And with the Clintons, when her trustworthiness
is that sort of in the mud, it is a problem. And Democrats, if they’re being honest,
will say it is a problem. If it was running against anyone other than
Donald Trump, she would be in a world of hurt right now. MS. CUMMINGS: And these are all coming when she
actually was starting to make progress on the trustworthy question. He convention did her some good, and she was
starting to improve those numbers a little bit. And here we are again, and we’re going to
be here again and again. MS. DAVIS: As we sit here today, we’re about
10 weeks from Election Day. Robert, Donald Trump did not have a great
August. What is his campaign telling you about how
they want to spend the next 10 weeks? MR. COSTA: Well, one of the most important moments
will be the debates. And so you have a month now before the first
debate, and they’re going to be preparing him, but not usually in a formal mock debate
style way. You’re going to have Trump having conversations
with Giuliani and Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich and trying to think through his positions. They’re going to do the outreach to the
African-American community. Ben Carson tells me he wants to show Trump
around his home city of Detroit in early September. And you’re also going to see Trump try to
catch up to the Clintons on the ground game. On Friday afternoon, the Trump campaign released
a new application for people’s phones to try to do door-knocking and all these things
where you can move from being apprentice level to “Make America Great Again” level to
big league level. And so it shows you, though, that the Trump
campaign recognizes the Clintons are so ahead when it comes to advertising, when it comes
to strength on the ground, and in these swing states, and they have to do something to catch
up even if they’re not going to be out there matching them on point via point. MS. DAVIS: Jeanne, what do the polls tell us about
how many voters in this election still truly don’t know who they’re going to vote for
this November? MS. CUMMINGS: We do have a fair number of I don’t
know yet. It’s still – it’s still – it’s not
unusually large. What’s different, that we don’t see all
the time, is that all of us who do – our outlets do polling have had to add this “neither”
question, because that we were getting spontaneously from the people we were surveying. And so our professional pollers said we got
to – we got to give them this option because there are so many of them. And that hovers around 7 or 8 percent or something,
and that’s a significant number, especially when we have a four-way race and the alternative
candidates are drawing a little bit more, a little higher. And then you have this big batch of people
that are just sort of frozen, that don’t know what to do. But to put some numbers on what Robert was
just mentioning – and you know, here we are, Labor Day is almost upon us, and I mean,
the – Hillary has reserved $80 million in television advertising through August. Donald Trump has reserved 5 million (dollars). That’s how they’re – the Clinton campaign,
the number of people they have on the ground in North Carolina and Ohio is more than Trump
has on the ground in the country. MS. DAVIS: Wow. MS. CUMMINGS: That’s how different the two campaigns
are. MS. DAVIS: Well, Jeff, we know the battleground
is shifting. It seems to be narrowing. Where is Hillary Clinton devoting her resources
now in the home stretch? MR. ZELENY: They are still focusing on actually
a pretty broad battleground. I mean, they are nervous in some respects
that August may have been sort of too rosy for them, and it’s one of the reasons she
gave a speech, again, to try and stop a pivot here. But North Carolina is central. I think that if she wins in North Carolina,
you have to say that it’s difficult for Trump to win the presidency. Not impossible, of course, because mathematically
it’s possible, but that is sort of a symbolic new battleground. Ohio, of course, as well. But the three – Florida, Ohio North Carolina
– are there states where she is so focusing on. A place like Virginia, which we thought would
be the center of everything, it’s not; she’s up, most polls say, double digits. MS. DAVIS: North Carolina is a very interesting
state to watch this election cycle. Thank you all for being here. MR. ZELENY: Thanks, Sue. MS. DAVIS: We have to go a few minutes early this
week to give you the chance to support your local station, which in turn supports Washington
Week. But the conversation continues online on the
Washington Week Webcast Extra, where among other things we’ll discuss the high-level
negotiations surrounding the presidential debates. It’s not as simple as you may think. And while you’re there, have a little fun
testing your knowledge of current events on the Washington Week News Quiz. That’s later tonight and all week long at
PBS.org/WashingtonWeek. Gwen Ifill will be back next week. I’m Susan Davis. Thanks for tuning in. Have a good night and a great weekend.

Comments (20)

  1. 1.) A Latino man was beaten by Trump supporters and Trump responded by saying they were very passionate. 2.) On the Opie and Anthony show Trump said that changing diapers was women's work. 3.) Trump said that if his daughter was sexually harassed at work she should find another job.  4.) Trump told Chris Matthews that women should be punished for having abortions, before changing his stance on abortions 5 times in a 24 hour period. 5.) Politico, "The 199 Most Donald Trump Things Donald Trump Ever Said": #9: "I have black guys counting my money. … I hate it. The only guys I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes all day." 6.) Trump was sued for housing discrimination against minorities and eventually folded and settled out like a cheap suit…

  2. Hillary has the Hottest place in Hell awaiting Her..!! She Likes it Hot..Hot it is ..Reap Wot U Sow.. !!

  3. Alt-right..!= 3rd Reight..! Dummies keep up with the Play..! We are😉

  4. I don't belong to a hate group and I'm not a racist.  I'm voting for Trump.

  5. Your video is very quiet, please raise the volume in the future if you can. Thanks.

  6. The reason the emails are so important is because Republicans had so much blow back from the never ending Benghazi red herring. Benghazi is over and voila, Clinton Foundation has been TIED to the emails. Oh, joy, oh joy in GOPer Ville! All Republican smoke and mirrors and no fire.

  7. The only Racist is the one calling Trump a racist.

  8. Conspiracy theories are excellent for giving uneducated people feeling of intelligence and being informed without actually getting an education.
    "You sheeple". So powerful.

  9. He has moved on from winning the election to positioning himself to create TrumpTV with Roger Ailes.

  10. "TRUMPISTS ALT-RIGHT RACISM EXPOSED".

  11. Clinton is indeed a problem for the Democrats as long as her emails & allegations abt Clinton foundation & her tenure in State Dept. plus her links with Wall Street hangs around her neck like millstones. She's a very flawed candidate tarred with the 'Establishment' brand & the Democrats must've wished that Bernie was their choice candidate. The debates are going to be tough for both Trump & Hillary but even more damaging to Clinton if Trump is smart enough to exploit her flaws to his advantage.

  12. Are you all subscribers too Jorge Ramos?

  13. In contrast to Hillary, I haven't seen any indication that Donald Trump is in any way a crooked, lying, thieving, murdering lowlife.

  14. Trump has the costings now. He knows it cost a ton to send people back. (Especially to the Middle East or North Africa.) He has good people looking at how to fund it or change the process. But illegal is illegal and rules are rules and they gotta go or they pay some how.

  15. The reason Rip Van Hillary woke up to call Trump a "racist" is because of Trump's outreach to the Black community and the history of failure by the Democrats. In fact, the failure of the Democrats is documented in Dinesh D'Sousa new movie _Hillary's America". This is not about "trading barbs" as the reporter here tries to frame the discussion. It is all about challenging the monopoly that the Democratic Party has on the Black vote and the fact that for DECADES the conditions of Blacks have worsened due to the BIGOTED policies supported by the Clintons.

    Bigotry not only against Blacks but against WHITE America as well with trade policies like NAFTA, the H1B's, H2Bs, and the Hart-Cellar Immigration Act of 1965, one year AFTER the Civil Rights legislation was passed that opened the borders to immigration that harmed lower skill workers that have disproportionally impacted Blacks and working its way up the food-chain to harm Whites.

    The immigration issue was raised in the 1990's by the late African American Congresswomen Barbara Jordan but with her untimely death, the issue festered. Let's us recall that Blacks overwhelmingly voted for Prop 187 in 1996. The truth is that Blacks as a whole do not support unfettered immigration. The fact that Trump is now addressing the immigration issue as a question of national security and Civil Rights and is being called a "racist" is the HEIGHT OF HYPOCRISY.
    Blacks are seeing their Civil Rights to jobs and decent wages under threat due to immigration supported by Democrats like Obama and Clinton only reveals why Blacks should be supporting Donald Trump for President.

  16. I'm getting my freshest sheets out to go see Donald Trump's next rally.

  17. Washington, like politicians through the ages uses hatred all the time to control us. Things like "affirmative action", the idea of "reparations for slavery" and other actions to favor one groups over the other creates hatred.

    Aside for all that, Hillary Clinton is a CRIMINAL and a TRAITOR. And aside from that, she has some sort of mental condition that makes her unable to function as president. The media are all trying to conceal her illness as well as her criminality.

  18. I'm Voting GreenForJill and Progressive DownTicket folksBernicrats,

  19. Too bad bimbo! Trump won! Crooked hillery & "Blow-jobBill" LOST! Ha ha ha.

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