Hillary Clinton has condemned Donald Trump, calling him shameful, dangerous and declaring: “I no longer think he’s funny.”
Clinton launched her attack on the billionaire Republican frontrunner during an appearance on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers on Thursday, sparking loud applause from the audience.
In the aftermath of attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris and in San Bernardino, California, Trump has called for monitoring mosques and barring Muslims from entering the United States.
“I think for weeks, you know, you and everybody else were just bringing folks to hysterical laughter and all of that,” Clinton told the host. “But now he has gone way over the line. And what he’s saying now is not only shameful and wrong – it’s dangerous.”
Trump’s rhetoric was harming the nation’s ability to fight the rise of the Islamic State, feeding the group “propaganda” it could use to recruit, Clinton said.
“This latest demand that we not let Muslims into the country really plays right into the hands of the terrorists,” she said.
“I don’t say that lightly, but it does. He is giving them a great propaganda tool, a way to recruit more folks from Europe and the United States. And because it’s kind of crossed that line, I think everybody and especially other Republicans need to stand up and say ‘Enough, you’ve gone too far.’”
Clinton has previously denounced Trump’s proposal while trying to tie his bombastic views to those of the rest of the Republican party. “Some of his Republican rivals are saying that his latest comments have gone too far,” she said during a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Tuesday. “But the truth is many of them have said extreme things about Muslims. Their language may be more veiled than Trump’s but their ideas aren’t so different.”
Some Republicans have been swift to condemn Trump. His rival for the GOP nomination, Senator Lindsey Graham, told the Guardian that “Donald Trump today took xenophobia and religious bigotry to a new level”, while former vice-president Dick Cheney said in a radio interview that Trump’s plan “goes against everything we believe in”.
House Speaker Paul Ryan disavowed Trump’s proposal, saying: “This is not conservatism.”
Despite the backlash Trump’s divisive rhetoric seems to have struck a chord with Republican voters. More Republicans favor his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States than oppose it, according to a poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal. In a New York Times CBS News poll released on Thursday the real estate mogul received support from 35% of Republican primary voters nationally.
The poll also found that seven in 10 likely Republican primary voters believed Trump was well-equipped to confront the threat of terrorism, with four in 10 “very confident” he could respond to the threat.
“I do think we all bear some responsibility for that,” she said, agreeing with the host that firearm safety measures would require the support of gun owners.
“I do think that we don’t have the right approach to it and we do need to reach out to more responsible gun owners and begin to try to say ‘Look, we can do more to prevent as many deaths as possible.’”
She dismissed the notion that the government would ever be in the business of trying to recapture the estimated 310m firearms in circulation – more than the nation’s population.
Meyers said: “There’s obviously so many guns in this country. We’re never getting those guns back.”
“No, no, right,” Clinton said. But she added that the National Rifle Association benefited from fueling this fear.
“If you are trying to keep people paying dues and supporting your organization, you want to keep them upset,” Clinton said of the NRA. “They want people to feel like, you know, the black helicopter is going to land in the backyard and your guns are going to be taken. Totally, unbelievably untrue, but it does create doubt and they just drive right through that.”
The appearance, her fourth on the late-night talk show circuit after stints on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the Late Show With Stephen Colbert and the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, also had lighter moments.And how would she keep the former president out of the situation room? Without missing a beat, Clinton responded that she might not want to keep him out, noting that past presidents had sought his assistance in the past.
The Obama administration, for example, sent Bill Clinton to North Korea to win the release of two American journalists.
She recounted the episode, describing her surprise when the nation’s then-leader Kim Jong-il said he would turn the journalists over to a “distinguished American” and requested her husband.
“We kept offering names of the distinguished Americans and none of them were acceptable and we couldn’t figure out: is this real or not?” she said.
“Eventually they said ‘No, we would really like President Clinton to come.’ And that was a little awkward. I was secretary of state.”
At the end of the interview Meyers asked Clinton to respond to a series of questions about the early voting state – and the host’s home state – of New Hampshire.
“Who won the 2008 New Hampshire Democratic primary?” Meyers asked.
Beaming, Clinton gave a jazz hands cheer. “Me!”
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