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Trump uses Baltimore speech to condemn Clinton gaffe

Rachel Baye

In a speech in Baltimore Monday afternoon, Donald Trump promised the National Guard Association of the United States that he would support military growth and defeat ISIS if elected president.

“We will empower our generals to do the job they were hired to do, and that begins with defeating and destroying ISIS,” he said. “My plan calls for a major rebuilding of the entire military.”

But Trump didn’t offer specifics on how he would accomplish those plans and instead devoted most of his speech to criticizing comments Hillary Clinton made at a fundraiser on Friday.

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables,” she said at the event. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.”

Trump said these comments show Clinton’s arrogance.

“After months of hiding from the press, Hillary Clinton has revealed her true thoughts,” he said. “She revealed herself to be a person who looks down on the proud citizens of our country as subjects for her rule.”

Outside the Baltimore Convention Center, where Trump spoke, crowds of Trump and Clinton supporters faced off on opposing street corners.

Baltimore City resident Wendy Stewart was there to show her support for Trump. She wore a Trump 2016 button just below the bottom edge of her blue head scarf.

“I like the fact that he is not one to stand down or cower in the face of another country, maybe trying to belittle us or just laugh at any proposals we have to try to sanction them, like North Korea,” she said.

Stewart said she is a recent convert to Islam. She was a Trump supporter before she converted, and she still is now. She said she is not deterred by promises Trump has made about keeping Muslims out of the country.

“I think I understand where he’s getting at with, ‘There’s a lot of Muslims and they’re coming from this country.’ We need to tackle ISIS, and it’s just not being done,” she said. “It’s not like he’s going to round up all the Muslims and say OK all you guys have to leave.”

The loudest, profanity-laden chants came from the anti-Trump side of the street.

And that frustrated Baltimore City resident Michael White, who was among those protesting Trump.

“I think that the less that we can curse and say disparaging things about the supporters of Trump, the more that we can talk about the things that are important to us really,” he said.

Democratic members of Maryland’s congressional delegation took the opportunity of Trump’s speech in Baltimore to criticize the GOP presidential nominee’s own word choice.

Congressman Elijah Cummings said Trump has cultivated division across the country. He urged voters not to reward Trump for what he said was bullying.

“He’s just about offended every ethnic group in our nation and the world,” Cummings said. “ I don’t see how you can become the commander-in-chief, and an effective commander-in-chief, if you don’t respect the very people you are supposed to be commanding.”

P. Kenneth Burns contributed reporting.  

Rachel Baye is a senior reporter and editor in WYPR's newsroom.
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