Former president Bill Clinton disparaged Donald Trump supporters at a rally Monday in Saginaw, Michigan, painting them as people blinded by “resentment” and “fear.”
Clinton arrived on stage at 1:44 PM Eastern for a rally that was supposed to begin at noon Eastern, an hour and forty-four minutes earlier.
“When I saw Hillary in that debate…every American who watched it, unless they were just so knotted up with anger and resentment” saw a clear contrast in the candidates’ experience, Clinton said.
“If you’re mad then it doesn’t matter,” Clinton said.
Clinton then mockingly assumed the voice of angry Americans.
“I’m mad about immigration, I’m mad about trade, I’m mad because my wages aren’t going up,” Clinton said, painting the divide in the country as a battle between “the voters of Hope vs. the voters of fear.”
“Most of the anti-immigration feeling in America is in places that don’t have a lot of immigrants. We’ve got to stop fighting over this,” Clinton said.
He noted that the election should not be about “insults, tax evasion, abuse of the family foundation or whatever” because that’s not what matters to regular people.
“The Democrats have a pretty good argument. I made it four years ago for President Obama,” Clinton said. “Is this a change election? Yes it is, and it should be. But the question should be: what are we going to do? What kind of change do you need?…Do we want anger or answers? Do we want resentment or empowerment? And do we want to reach the world with walls or bridges?”
“That’s it. That’s the whole thing,” Clinton said to mild applause.
Clinton said that we can’t “put everyone in manufacturing” because “every year, fewer people can produce more stuff.”
Clinton came out in favor of tariffs on companies that ship jobs overseas, specifically citing the case of Carrier air conditioners in Indiana in a direct ripoff of one of Donald Trump’s main talking points. “No we’re going to take the gains away from you if you do that,” he said. “That is Hillary’s position.”
“Oh, the Democrats they’re coming for your guns, they’re coming for your guns. They said that about me. And we banned assault weapons” but everyone in Michigan was still able to go hunting and protect their families, Clinton said. “It is a bunch of bull!”
Clinton made a bizarre reference to the Civil War, paraphrasing a friend who is a Lincoln expert who explained one of the reasons Lincoln went to war: “In the North there was no power elite, there was no slave labor, it was the greatest opportunity for people who started out poor to get into the middle class. We’ve got to do that again.”