DADE CITY, Fla. — Democrat Hillary Clinton continued her offensive Tuesday against Republican Donald Trump, focusing on what she called his “mistreating,” “grabbing” and disrespecting of women.
“Look at what he does. He calls women ugly, disgusting and nasty all the time,” Clinton said. “The bottom line is, he thinks belittling women makes him a bigger man . . . He has shown that clearly throughout this campaign.”
As the presidential election moved into the final week, Clinton is increasingly urging voters to make it a referendum on Trump. A day earlier in Ohio, Clinton cast Trump as temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief and oversee the nation’s nuclear arsenal, saying he was someone who could be “plunging us into war because someone got under his skin.”
Her message, during three stops in Florida Tuesday, was expected to focus on not only things the Republican nominee has said about women, but also a recently published video in which he brags about groping women. Clinton called him a “bully” and said he set a bad example for young men as well as women.
Clinton and Trump are running neck-and-neck in Florida with just seven days to go.
At her second stop of the day in Sanford, about 88 miles northeast of Dade City, Clinton seized on a New York Times report that Trump used a “legally dubious scheme” to avoid reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in taxable income.
“In the end, Donald Trump is the poster boy for everything that is wrong with our economy,” Clinton told supporters.
She said Trump is spouting “dark and divisive rhetoric” that threatens to split the nation, and rattled off a list of groups the Republican has insulted.
“He started with immigrants. Moved onto Latinos, African-Americans, Muslims, people with disabilities, prisoners of war,” Clinton said, then, after a pause: “And then women!”
To boost her cause, Clinton enlisted Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe whom Trump criticized as “Miss Piggy” for gaining weight after the pageant. A recently naturalized citizen, Machado said at the Dade City rally that she “could not be prouder to cast my first presidential vote for Hillary Clinton.”
“He told me that I looked ugly and that I was massive. He even called me names,” Machado said at the outdoor event at a local school where temperatures hovered in the 80s. “It was really painful for me.”
Machado said Clinton was the candidate who will “fight to fix our broken immigration system so families can stay together and take part in the American dream,” a shot at Trump’s disparaging immigrants living in the country illegally.
“To all Latinos, this is our election,” Machado said to whoops and cheers.
Unlike Monday, Clinton made no mention of the ongoing FBI probe of her emails, preferring to, as she said, “not get distracted” from the real issues of the campaign. She talked about equal pay for women, free college tuition for some families and supporting an economy that “works for all” and not just those at the top.
But primarily, she aimed her sights at Trump — making it clear that the one thing the two candidates have in common is that he/she will focus on the opponent’s negatives during the final week of the campaign.
Clinton said Trump was someone who has “spent lot of time demeaning, degrading and assaulting women.” She applauded Machado and said, “Thankfully, Alicia doesn’t let a small person like Donald Trump . . . decide her value.”
“But what about our girls? What about their confidence?” Clinton said. “And what about our boys? This is not someone we want them to look up to.”
In Fort Lauderdale Tuesday night, Clinton denounced Trump’s “dark, divisive” vision, which she also linked to his supporters. She said they want to turn back the clock.
“I am sick and tired of the dark, negative, divisive, dangerous vision and behavior from people who support Donald Trump,” Clinton said. “It is time for us to say: No, we are not going backward.”