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Clinton ties Trump’s campaign to the extreme right-wing

Clinton's "alt-right" speech

RENO -- In a speech here Thursday, Hillary Clinton cast her opponent, Donald Trump, as the new standard-bearer for a Republican party that is more extreme than ever before, with a vision that would put “prejudice into practice.”

“We know who Trump is,” Clinton said, speaking at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno. “He says he wants to “make America great again” but, more and more, it seems as though his real message seems to be “Make America hate again.”

Clinton had planned to spend her day in Reno, her first public campaign stop in a week, talking about her new plan to help small businesses. But after Trump lobbed attack after attack at her -- culminating in his calling her a “bigot” at a rally on Wednesday -- Clinton chose instead to use her appearance here to tie her opponent to the “alt-right” movement, a political philosophy popular with conservative white nationalists. 

Without ever directly calling Trump “racist,” she accused the Republican nominee of peddling “racist lies” and conspiracy theories and allowing an extreme, far-right movement to take over his party. 

“Of course there’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, a lot of it rising from racial resentment,” Clinton said. “But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone. Until now.”

Clinton’s speech stemmed, at least in part, from Trump’s recent hire of Breitbart’s Steve Bannon as the CEO of his campaign. Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart notoriously embraced the “alt-right” movement’s anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic point of view. 

Her damning portrayal of Trump and his campaign also comes as Trump makes a new, and somewhat controversial, effort to reach out to minority voters. Last week in Michigan, Trump painted a dark picture of African American life in America, and promised that he would “produce” for “inner city” communities if elected. In recent days, following a meeting with Hispanic leaders at Trump Tower in New York, Trump has appeared to step away from one of the signature proposals of his campaign: to round up and deport large numbers of illegal immigrants. 

“I am asking for the honor of your vote so that I can fight for you,” Trump said on Wednesday in Tampa. “That’s African-American, that’s Hispanic and that’s all Americans. We are gonna make it better, much, much better.”

Clinton warned voters waiting for a “kinder, gentler, more responsible Donald Trump” not to hold their breath. In her remarks, she recalled Trump’s record of housing discrimination against African Americans early in his career -- “their applications would be marked with a ‘C,’ ‘C’ for colored,’ she said -- and his role in promoting “birther” theories about President Barack Obama. 

“This is what I want to make clear today,” she said. “A man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far reaches of the Internet, should never run our government or command our military.”

She said “the hard truth” is this: “There’s no other Donald Trump.”

His latest fascination, she said, is her health.

“All I can say is, Donald, dream on,” she said. “This is what happens when you treat the National Enquirer like Gospel.”

In closing, Clinton said that this election marks a “moment of reckoning” for Republicans, and all patriotic Americans. She remembered Republican presidential candidates of years past, including Bob Dole and George W. Bush, and lamented the shift of the “party of Lincoln” to the “party of Trump.”

“In 2008, John McCain told his own supporters that they were wrong about the man he was trying to defeat,” she said. “Senator McCain made sure they knew. Barack Obama, he said, is an American citizen and ‘a decent person.’”

She added: “We need that kind of leadership again.”