In her first speech as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton on Friday went on the attack against her Republican opponent Donald Trump, charging he’d roll back rights that women have won over the past century.
“Instead of working to continue the progress we’ve made, the Republicans led now by Donald Trump are working to reverse it,” she told a conference here of the Planned Parenthood Political Action Fund.
Clinton promised she would fight against the erosion of abortion and reproductive rights while seeking to break down barriers by increasing minimum wages, pushing for family leave and repealing the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortion.
“Do we want to put our health, our future, and our lives in Donald Trump’s hands?” she asked her audience, which included mostly women wearing pink shirts who clapped, cheered and waved Clinton signs throughout the half-hour address.
By choosing to address the political arm of Planned Parenthood just days after making history as the first woman to run as a major party’s presidential candidate, Clinton signaled that gender will be a key prong of attack in her general-election campaign against Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.
Before arriving at the Washington Hilton for the address, Clinton sparked talk that she might choose liberal firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as her running mate after the two of them met privately for about an hour at Clinton’s Washington home.
Warren, who has launched social media and television attacks on Trump over the past several weeks, on Thursday endorsed Clinton and expressed interest in being her vice president.
In her Planned Parenthood address, Clinton said, “I come to this issue, of course, as a woman, a mother and a grandmother now. But I also come as a former first lady, senator and secretary of state.”
And she broadened her broadside against Trump by mentioning his disparaging remarks about Muslims, the judge in his Trump University case for his Mexican heritage, and his calling women pigs and dogs.
“This election is profoundly different. It’s about who we are as Americans,” she said.
Clinton was among friends at the conference. In January, Planned Parenthood’s president Cecile Richards broke tradition and gave her group’s first presidential endorsement to Clinton as the national health care and abortion provider faced attacks from conservatives and Republicans.
“This isn’t electing any woman to the White House. This is about electing this woman, Hillary Clinton,” Richards said in her introductory remarks.
Clinton responded, “I’ve been proud to stand with Planned Parenthood for a long time, and, as president, I will always have your back.”
Anti-abortion groups criticized the speech. Arina Grossu, of the group FRC Action, said in an email, “Clinton and Planned Parenthood have betrayed women by continuing to sell them the abortion industry’s lies.”
Still, the Clinton campaign hopes to build a record gender gap in her matchup with Trump.
A Fox News poll published Wednesday found she had an 18-point lead over Trump among women, and a 34-point lead among unmarried women. Trump had a 15-point advantage among men. The poll has a 3 point margin of error.