CLEVELAND — Democratic National Party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Monday denounced Donald Trump blocks from where the Republican presidential candidate was to be officially nominated later this week, saying she believes the GOP convention will serve as a “great recruiting tool” for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“There’s a reason why many Republicans — so many Republicans — were unwilling to show up at their own convention here in Cleveland,” Schultz said at a news conference in the city’s downtown district.
Several prominent GOP leaders, including former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and the host state’s Gov. John Kasich, are sitting out this cycle’s nominating convention.
Wasseman Schultz, joined by former Democratic Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), promised events each day of the convention that will serve as her party’s response to issues raised by the GOP. The group painted Trump as a dangerously unpredictable candidate, especially on matters of international relations and national defense.
Republican delegates were readying Monday afternoon to hear speakers at the Quicken Loans Arena on the first day of the convention, themed, “Make America Safe Again.”
Wasserman Schultz said experts have argued that Trump national security proposals, such as a ban on Muslims coming into the United States until the terror threat can be addressed, “plays right into terrorists’ hands” with its message of exclusion and hate.
“He is divisive, dangerous and lacks the judgment and temperament to be president,” said the former congresswoman from Florida.
Gallego said Trump’s policies are based on “feelings and bravado.”
Strickland also noted the GOP members who are skipping the convention, applauding them for “putting country over party.”
He said that amid a recent spate of fatal shootings of black men and police officers and terror-related attacks elsewhere in Orlando and elsewhere in the world, the United States needs Clinton, “a commander-in-chief that has the maturity, the experience, the intelligence and the capacity to be a strong leader in difficult times.”