Hillary Clinton and her Democratic allies dove deeper into Donald Trump’s record Tuesday, launching a new round of attacks designed to paint the billionaire businessman as profiting off the housing crisis that hurt millions of Americans.
As she has for weeks, Clinton avoided all mention of primary challenger Bernie Sanders, even as both campaigned in California ahead of the state’s June 7 primary. Instead, she focused on Trump, trying to use the presumptive Republican nominee’s words against him.
“You know what happened in the great recession. Donald Trump said when he was talking about the possibility of a housing market crash before the great recession, he said, ‘I sort of hope that happens,'” Clinton told union workers in Los Angeles.
“He actually said he was hoping for the crash that caused hard-working families in California and across the country to lose their homes.”
Trump shot back in a statement, saying he’s “made a lot of money in down markets.”
“Frankly, this is the kind of thinking our country needs, understanding how to get a good result out of a very bad and sad situation.”
Clinton’s attacks were echoed by her campaign and Democrats across the country, who highlighted comments Trump made in 2006 saying he “sort of hopes” the housing bubble would burst because “people like me could make a lot of money.”
“What kind of a man does that? Root for people to get thrown out on the street?” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said of Trump in a speech Tuesday night. “I’ll tell you exactly what kind — a man who cares about no one but himself. A small, insecure moneygrubber who doesn’t care who gets hurt.”
In an email to The Associated Press in response to questions about Warren’s remarks, Trump said: “She’s one of the least successful Senators in the U.S. Senate. I borrowed $1 million dollars and turned it into a great $10 billion-dollar company in a relatively short period of time.”
The new assault comes as Democrats try to hone their most powerful lines of attacks against Trump. More than half of Clinton’s address in Los Angeles was devoted to criticizing Trump’s foreign policy record, economic policies and personal finances, including his unwillingness to release his tax returns.
Clinton is attempting to turn her attention to Trump even as she continues to face a two-front war against both Trump and Sanders.
Sanders’ campaign launched a $1.5 million ad buy in California on Tuesday and announced it would seek a recanvass in last week’s Kentucky primary, where he trailed Clinton by less than one-half of 1 percent. The recanvass, which is not a recount, involves reviewing the election results but is unlikely to change the results or the awarding of delegates.
In California, Clinton hopes to make a statement in a contest that will effectively end the primaries and encourage the party to coalesce around her candidacy. Clinton is targeting Latino and black voters, who have typically backed her candidacy in high numbers, as she campaigns across the state.
Sanders, meanwhile, hopes that winning a large share of the state’s 475 delegates will give him momentum heading into the party’s Philadelphia convention in July. He is barnstorming the state, holding multiple rallies a day in hopes of connecting directly with grassroots supporters.
“If we win big in California, we’re going to go marching into the Democratic convention with a lot of momentum,” Sanders said to cheers at a rally on the outskirts of Disneyland. “And if we go marching into the Democratic convention with a lot of momentum, we’re going to march out with the Democratic nomination. And if we march out with the Democratic nomination, Donald Trump is toast.”
Entering the final contests in June, Clinton leads Sanders by 271 pledged delegates according to a count by The Associated Press, but the self-described democratic socialist has vowed to soldier on and amass as many delegates as possible.
Clinton holds a substantial lead with party leaders and elected officials, called superdelegates, and is on track to clinch the nomination through the combination of pledged delegates and superdelegates after contests in California, New Jersey and four other states on June 7.
But despite the math, some Democrats are concerned that Sanders’ tactics could make it more difficult to unite in the summer. In an AP interview Monday, Sanders said the process of crafting the party’s platform and holding its convention could be “messy,” adding, “Democracy is messy.”
He does not make as many references to Clinton in his stump speech as he did weeks ago. But in Anaheim, the crowd booed when he told them Clinton “has a number of super PACs and she is also raising significant sums from Wall Street.”
Party leaders hope that as his path to the nomination continues to narrow, Sanders will tone down his attacks against Clinton.
“We should kind of lay off Bernie a little bit,” Senate minority leader Harry Reid told reporters in Washington. “Bernie’s a good man, he tries to do the right thing, and I think everything’ll work out well.”
Thomas reported from Anaheim, California. Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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