Presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton spent a large part of her time Monday in Cincinnati talking about recent racial tensions across the country and vowing to unite Americans.
Though Clinton said her “heart broke” as she watched the news of the latest police killings in Baton Rouge, she told the thousands gathered for the NAACP National Convention that “this madness has to stop” where police officers and African-Americans are being killed.
The former U.S. Secretary of State’s speech on Monday was also on the opening day of the GOP National Convention in Cleveland. Clinton told NAACP members she is the only one who “can help pull us together” and said presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump “will do the exact opposite.”
“He might say otherwise if he were here,” Clinton said. “But of course, he declined your invitation.”
Though Trump declined the NAACP’s invite to speak at the national convention, Trump did say in December he’d seek the death penalty for those who killed police officers.
Clinton called for reforms in the nation when it comes to police, including implementing national guidelines in policing and a need to start rebuilding trust among the police and the communities they serve.
“Everyone is safer when there is respect for the law, and when everyone is respected by the law,” Clinton said, adding that “ending systemic racism requires contributions from all of us — especially, especially those of us who haven’t experienced it ourselves.”
She said there is a cavernous divide steeped with distrust and anger between the police and many African-American communities.
“All of that tells us very powerfully that we have to change,” Clinton said. “Many police officers across the country agree with that, but it can only happen if we build trust and accountability. And let’s admit it that gets harder every time someone else is killed. So now is the time for all good people that agree that the senseless killings must end to stand up loudly and clearly. I know that the NAACP and so many of you individually will do all you can, to do what you can to help our nation heal and start to work together to meet these challenges.”
But there are fears, Clinton said. Fears many African Americans have of the police, and fears the murders of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge “mean that vital questions about police and community relations will go unanswered.”
As Clinton approached the end of her half-hour speech, she honed in on how she can beat Trump — and that is to get people out to vote. Clinton briefly mentioned it at the NAACP convention but went in-depth at a campaign rally afterward at the University of Cincinnati.
She wants to get 3 million people registered to vote, and commit them to vote in this election. This initiative will be kicked of with more than 500 voter registration events from college campuses to minor league baseball parks. There is also a voter registration tool to help get people registered to vote.
“It is not enough to yell at your TV screen, it is not enough to send a nasty tweet. That is not enough. You have to get register and get out to vote in November,” she said.
In important swing states, Ohio included, the election is close.
Monday’s Cincinnati visit is the former Secretary of State’s fifth trip to Ohio since May and fourth in the past six weeks, a sign of the state’s importance in this presidential election.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week, Clinton is in three “too-close-to-call races” in the critical swing states of Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania.
Clinton remains in a statistical tie with Trump were both received 41 percent of support from likely voters, and is just a few percentage points behind Trump in Florida and Pennsylvania. The latest Washington Post-ABC Poll shows Clinton leading overall, but the support for either presidential candidate comes from people opposing their opponent.
“I’m going to do everything I can to draw the contrast with the Republicans … and I think it’s fair to say we’re going to hear a lot about taking our country backwards because that’s really what they mean,” Clinton said.
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