JACKSON, Miss. — Donald Trump has spent the week calling for African-Americans to uproot voter trends, reject “the bigotry” of Hillary Clinton, and vote for him in November. But Wednesday night, Trump escalated the line of attack and labeled Clinton herself a “bigot.”
“Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future,” Trump said, reading from prepared remarks.
Unlike past lines that have drawn scrutiny, including Monday’s comments in Ohio about African Americans not being able to walk the street without being shot, this one was not a Trump ad-lib.
In prior days, the riff – which has become an embedded part of his new appeal to minority voters – was delivered as a variation of asking voters to “reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton” for what Trump called pandering and condescension to communities of color.
Clinton, for her part, has repeatedly declined opportunities to call Trump himself a racist, despite repeated questioning on the subject and multiple labelings of some of his campaign statements as racist by her campaign.
Asked to respond to the comment in an interview on CNN Wednesday night, Clinton again accused Trump of “peddling” bigotry and prejudice.
The Republican candidate, whose stop in deep red Mississippi at this point in the general election raised eyebrows and stirred confusion, surprised the crowd when he brought on stage with him a physical embodiment of his Brexit message: Britain’s Nigel Farage.
The Brit, who was a heavy and vocal “leave” backer during Brexit, attacked former British PM David Cameron for paying “the big card” of bringing President Obama to speak about the Brexit decision. As Trump has done in the past, Farage criticized Obama, adding that he “could not possibly tell you how you should vote in this election.”
Then he did just that.
“I will say this,” Farage allowed. “If I was an American citizen, I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if you paid me. In fact, I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if she paid me.”
As Trump has done, Farage pressed the parallels between the Brexit decision and the November election. “There are millions of ordinary Americans who’ve been let down, who’ve had a bad time, who feel the political class in Washington are detached from them,” Farage said.
Rousing the crowd with a call to action, he promised that, as Britain did, “you can go out, you can beat the pollsters, you can beat the commentators, you can beat Washington.”
Farage’s presence provides a strange message at a time when Trump himself is softening his hard line positions on immigration and deportation. The same evening as the Mississippi rally, the candidate told Sean Hannity the U.S. had to “work with” those undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for many years and have shown contributions to society.
“No citizenship,” Trump outlined, as well as the stipulation for back taxes. “There’s no amnesty, but we work with them,” he said in the interview.
His position marks a drastic and more compassionate shift in Trump’s previously harsh rhetoric advocating for mass deportation of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Despite those comments, Trump still pushed a decidedly anti-immigrant message at his rally. “Where is the sanctuary for American children?” Trump asked.
Alluding to Obama’s DREAM Act, Trump said “The dreamers we never talk about are the young Americans. Why aren’t young Americans dreamers also? I want my dreamers to be young Americans.”
The policy comments Wednesday and in recent days left many confused as to Trump’s shifting position on immigration.