Hillary Clinton slams Donald Trump’s “political arson”

Updated: March 13, 2016
Hillary Clinton slams Donald Trump's 'political arson'

Hillary Clinton on Saturday branded Donald Trump’s behavior “political arson,” warning that he’s encouraging violence at his rallies, as harsh criticism of the Republican front-runner echoed through the political world.

“The ugly, divisive rhetoric we are hearing from Donald Trump and the encouragement of violence and aggression is wrong, and it’s dangerous,” Clinton said, speaking at an event at the O’Fallon Park Recreation Complex in St. Louis on Saturday. “If you play with matches, you’re going to start a fire you can’t control. That’s not leadership. That’s political arson.”

“The test of leadership and citizenship is the opposite,” she continued. “If you see bigotry, oppose it. If you see violence, condemn it. And if you see a bully, stand up to him.”

Trump, who has never held elected office, is leading the race despite the fact that his campaign has been marked by controversial statements, including with disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants and Muslims.

He has won contests in 15 states — Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Vermont.

On Friday night, a large number of protesters — many of them African Americans and Latinos angered by Trump’s anti-immigrant stance — clashed with Trump’s supporters in Chicago, Illinois, forcing the billionaire to cancel a rally there.

The cancellation, which came amid large demonstrations both inside and outside the event at the University of Illinois at Chicago, follows heightened concerns about violence in general at Trump’s rallies across the United States.

Clinton, who is holding rallies in Missouri and Ohio on Saturday ahead of these two states’ primaries on Tuesday, denounced Trump in stark terms, but she acknowledged that voters “on the left, on the right” are angry with regular politicians.

“Many people have gotten a raw deal for too long,” she said. “Our economy and our politics have failed to deliver results the way they should. But I believe with all my heart the only way to fix what’s broken is to stand together.”

“I want us to roll up our sleeves and get to work and to stand against this tide of bullying and bigotry and blustering that is going on in our political system,” she said. “The best way to do that is to turn everybody we can out to vote on Tuesday. Send a clear message.”