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White House candidates Clinton and Trump attempt to unite their parties

Published 11/06/2016

Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump does not hold women in high regard (AP)
Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump does not hold women in high regard (AP)
Donald Trump gestures during a sparsely attended rally in Richmond, Virginia (AP)

The US presidential race shifted to the nation's capital, with Democrats executing a carefully orchestrated plan to unify their party around presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.

Her likely general election rival, Donald Trump, continued his months-long effort to win over the Republican base, with events wooing wealthy donors and evangelical voters.

With the primary contests all but over, a series of senior Democrats formally announced their support for Mrs Clinton, following the glowing endorsement of President Barack Obama on Thursday.

Within hours, Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren joined the effort.

They both backed Mrs Clinton and signalled to supporters of her rival Bernie Sanders that it is time to unite around the party's presumptive nominee.

Mrs Clinton and Ms Warren met privately for about an hour Mrs Clinton's home in Washington, intensifying speculation that the progressive stalwart may be be a candidate for the vice presidency.

Democrats in Washington are eager to unite their party against Mr Trump.

Mr Sanders, who has vowed to take his political revolution to their national Democratic convention in July, has been stressing his determination to defeat Mr Trump.

He may be signalling that he may exit the race or at least shift his focus away from Mrs Clinton after the final primary election next Tuesday in Washington, DC.

Mrs Clinton, meanwhile, delivered her first speech since becoming the presumptive nominee, addressing advocates at Planned Parenthood.

The women's health organisation and abortion provider was a strong champion of Mrs Clinton in the primaries, giving her its first endorsement in their 100-year history.

Describing Mr Trump as someone who "doesn't hold women in high regard," Mrs Clinton launched into an unabashedly feminist attack on her rival.

She argued he would take the country back to "when abortion was illegal, women had far fewer options and life for too many women and girls was limited".

Mr Trump, who has also faced resistance from corners of his party, addressed a gathering of conservative evangelical voters at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's "Road to Majority" conference.

Reading mostly from teleprompters, he declared Mrs Clinton "unfit to be president" while vowing to "restore faith to its proper mantle" in the US.

He also accused Mrs Clinton of failing to understand the gravity of the risk posed by Islamic extremism, and faulted her for wanting to allow more Syrian refugees into the country.

"Hillary will bring hundreds of thousands of refugees, many of whom have hostile beliefs about people of different faiths and values and some of whom absolutely and openly support terrorism in our country," he claimed.

His speech was interrupted by several protesters, including one woman who screamed "refugees are welcome here!" as she was escorted from the room.

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From Belfast Telegraph