CRANFORD, N.J. — President Bill Clinton dismissed presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s policies as “divisive” and ineffective at a Wednesday campaign event for his wife, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Speaking at Union County College, Bill Clinton also said “white, non-college-educated Americans” who are widely seen as a core part of Trump’s base “need to be brought along to the future.”
Clinton began making his case by identifying “a reason why this has been such a crazy political year.”
“All over the world there is stagnant economic growth, stagnant incomes, rising inequality and deep arguments over what to do about our increasing diversity,” Clinton said.
This year’s election has delivered many surprises, including Trump’s emergence from the GOP field. Clinton’s wife, who was initially viewed as the inevitable Democratic nominee, has also faced an unexpectedly strong primary challenge from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Though Clinton attributed these unexpected results to tension and difficult economic realities in his speech, he argued that America remains “the best positioned country for the future.” He also presented a prescription for how to take advantage of that positioning.
“To do it, we have to build a future that is inclusive — not divisive — a future which has not only higher incomes but more upward mobility and less inequality, and one which recognizes our diversity because its the only way to honor our common humanity,” Clinton said.
Clinton criticized two of the most controversial elements of Trump’s platform: building a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, and barring Muslim tourists and immigrants from entering the country. Though he took care not to name Trump, Clinton argued that these policies are misguided.
“We have been told over and over again in this election we ought to build a wall against Mexico, we ought to stop the Muslims from coming in, we want to do all this stuff,” Clinton said as the crowd booed Trump’s ideas. “Let me tell you, all those people who want to do that — and one in particular — forget what the real security challenges we face are.”