Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump Tuesday responded to violence following a police shooting in Milwaukee with a wide-ranging attack on rival Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, accusing Clinton of “bigotry” and saying she sees African-Americans as no more than votes to be won.
“The Democratic Party has failed and betrayed the African-American community,” Trump told supporters in West Bend, Wis., 45 minutes outside Milwaukee. “It is time to break with the failures of the past.”
The real estate mogul accused Clinton of setting herself “against the police” and called for more law enforcement officers in local communities, vowing to “break up the gangs, the cartels, and criminal syndicates terrorizing our neighborhoods.”
“[Clinton] panders to and talks down to communities of color and sees them only as votes, not as individual human beings worthy of a better future,” Trump said. “She doesn’t care at all about the hurting people of this country, or the suffering she has caused them.”
There was no immediate comment from the Clinton campaign. On Monday, Clinton told supporters during a stop in Scranton, Pa. that the Milwaukee protests showed the nation had “urgent work to do to rebuild trust between police and communities” and said “everyone should have respect for the law and be respected by the law.”
Addressing the weekend riots in Wisconsin’s largest city after the shooting of a black man by a black police officer, Trump noted, “The main victims of these riots are law-abiding African-Americans living in these neighborhoods.”
“Those peddling the narrative of cops as a racist force in our society … share directly in the responsibility for the unrest in Milwaukee,” Trump said. “They have fostered the dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America [and] do a direct disservice to poor African-American residents who are hurt by the high crime in their communities.”
Later, Trump said the impact of Democratic control of major cities has been “more crime, more broken homes, and more poverty.”
In an apparent response to criticism of his acceptance speech at last month’s Republican National Convention, Trump said that “the future [Clinton] offers is the most pessimistic thing I can imagine.”
Polls show Trump trailing Clinton by wide margins among black voters, particularly in key swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio. African-Americans also reliably turned out for Clinton during her Democratic primary contest against Sen. Bernie Sanders, helping her shore up blowout wins in the South and Midwest.
On Tuesday, Trump called Clinton “the personification of special interest corruption.” In a remark supporting expansion of charter schools, he accused Clinton of preferring to “deny opportunities to millions of young African-American children, just so she can curry favor with the education bureaucracy.”
Trump also returned to the topic of the speaking fees Clinton collected after leaving her position as secretary of state. If elected, Trump vowed, he would ban senior officials from collecting speaking fees from corporations with a registered lobbyist or any entity tied to a foreign government for five years after leaving office.
Trump began his visit with a meeting with local law enforcement officers at the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center on Lake Michigan. Among those present were Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who penned an op-ed Monday blaming liberal Democrats and the media for the unrest that has rocked the city.
In an interview on “Fox & Friends”, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker accused Clinton of “inflaming the situation” with her comments.
“I think people understand in that neighborhood and Sherman Park and in Milwaukee, they want law enforcement to step up and protect them,” he said, adding that “statements like that” from Clinton and a “lack of leadership” from President Barack Obama “only inflame the situation.”
Trump told Fox News that the shooting in Milwaukee may have occurred because the officer had a gun to his head.
“Who can have a problem with that?” Trump said. “If it is true, then people shouldn’t be rioting.”
Trump’s campaign also announced Tuesday that it will finally begin airing its first ads of the general election next week in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
While polls have shown Clinton building an overall lead following the Philadelphia convention, Democrats are fearful that a depressed voter turnout might diminish support among the minority, young and female voters who powered Obama to two victories.
Clinton said at a voter registration event at a Philadelphia high school that she’s “not taking anybody anywhere for granted” in the race for the White House, saying the stakes “could not be higher.”
While guarding against complacency, Clinton is also preparing for a potential administration.
Her campaign announced that former Interior Secretary and former Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar would chair her White House transition team.
Fox News’ John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.