Last Updated Aug 25, 2016 5:58 PM EDT
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — Donald Trump confronted head-on allegations that he is racist on Thursday, defending his hard-line approach to immigration while trying to make the case to minority voters that Democrats have abandoned them.
His poll numbers slipping behind Hillary Clinton’s with less than three months until Election Day, Trump tried to get ahead of the Democratic nominee, who addressed her attack on him in Reno, Nevada minutes later, warning that the Republican Party is being taken over by “a radical fringe,” motivated by “prejudice and paranoia.” Her speech focused on the so-called “alt-right” movement, which is often associated with efforts on the far right to preserve “white identity,” oppose multiculturalism and defend “Western values.”
“Hillary Clinton is going to try to accuse this campaign, and the millions of decent Americans who support this campaign, of being racists,” Trump predicted at his rally in Manchester, New Hampshire. “It’s the oldest play in the Democratic playbook: say ‘You’re racist, you’re racist, you’re racist.’ It’s a tired, disgusting argument. It’s the last refuge of the discredited Democratic politician.”
“To Hillary Clinton, and to her donors and advisers, pushing her to spread her smears and her lies about decent people, I have three words,” he said. “I want you to hear these words, and remember these words: Shame on you.”
In a speech in Reno, Clinton said Trump is “taking hate groups mainstream.”
“This is what I want to make clear today: 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. “If he doesn’t respect all Americans, how can he serve all Americans?”
After Clinton’s speech, Trump tweeted that the Democratic nominee should be “ashamed” of herself:
And in a statement, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Clinton is focusing on Trump because she has “no vision” for the country.
“Today proved to the American public what we have known all along – Hillary Clinton has no hope, no vision and no ideas for the future of our country,” she said. “Clinton lied about her emails, she lied about Colin Powell, and today she lied about Donald Trump. Donald Trump is talking about issues; Hillary Clinton is talking about Donald Trump.”