Clinton attacks Trump in Pittsburgh campaign rally
Hillary Clinton berated Donald Trump during a campaign rally Tuesday in Pittsburgh, saying the presumptive GOP nominee is dividing the country at a time of crisis and Republicans should reject his comments disparaging President Obama.
“Will responsible Republican leaders stand up to their presumptive nominee, or will they stand by his accusation about our president?” Clinton asked the crowd of supporters at the IBEW Local No. 5 in Pittsburgh’s South Side.
It was Clinton’s first visit to the city since becoming the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for president.
“I’m sure they’d rather avoid that question altogether. But history will remember what we do in this moment.”
The event was held two days after the worst mass shooting on American soil. The gunman, Omar Mateen, had expressed an allegiance to the Islamic State before and during the attack that killed 49 people and wounded 53 in Orlando.
FBI Director James B. Comey Jr. said Mateen was on a terrorism watch list from 2013 to 2014, but not enough evidence emerged to charge him with a crime.
In a speech Monday, Trump said he would use presidential executive powers to temporarily ban foreign Muslims from entering the country and suggested on a morning news show that Obama sympathizes with terrorists.
“Trump’s statements are lies — but he tells them because he has to distract from the fact that he has nothing substantive to say for himself,” Clinton said.
As Clinton gave her remarks, Obama delivered a nearly identical attack of Trump at the Treasury Department, saying the businessman’s approach could hurt national security.
“We are now seeing how dangerous this kind of mindset and this kind of thinking can be,” he said.
Trump did not respond to a request for comment.
Clinton said she had intended to discuss how to make the economy work and reduce the economic inequality that threatens democracy.
“And I wanted to talk, too, about how unions like yours, IBEW, and the steelworkers and so many others helped build the greatest middle class in the world,” she said to the crowd of more than 700 mostly union workers.
“But today, there are different things on my mind — and probably on yours, too,” she said.
Clinton went on to deliver a measured but scorching speech aimed at distinguishing her leadership skills from Trump’s unorthodox style, arguing that she had the better temperament for the job.
“Americans don’t need conspiracy theories and pathological self-congratulations. We need leadership, common sense and concrete plans,” she said.
United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard introduced Clinton. Other local leaders joined her onstage, including Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald, city council members Corey O’Connor and Natalia Rudiak and Braddock Mayor John Fetterman.
“Hillary delivered just the right message,” Fitzgerald said after the event. “It reminded voters of the contrast between her and Trump and showed that she has the chops to get things done and work with all people.”
Josh Shapiro, the Montgomery County commissioner and Democratic nominee for state attorney general, said Clinton showed she has the temperament to address the country during a crisis.
“These are very trying times. The country needs someone who will pull us together and not someone who will fracture us,” Shapiro said. “She made the point crystal clear today that she is that person.”
Clinton finished her day in Pittsburgh at a $10,000- to $34,000-per-ticket fundraiser hosted by Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and his wife, Kiya, in their home in Pittsburgh’s East End.
Salena Zito is a Tribune-Review staff writer.