Friday, on MSNBC, while discussing a sniper targeting Dallas police officers in an attack that killed five and wounding seven, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said the “very divisive and hateful rhetoric,” in the presidential campaign has helped to create an environment that allowed the murders to happen.
Partial Transcript as Follows:
LESTER HOLT: Madam Secretary, it seems we have been stuck on this conversation about race in this country in a perpetual loop, and we’re not getting very far. Some would argue, we’ve slipped backwards. President Obama has spent eight years on this, and hasn’t been able to move the needle. How will you move the needle on race relations? Is there a moonshot type strategy?
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, Lester, I think everyone understands that we have some very deep divides in our country, and if we don’t start addressing them, — and that’s a matter of urgency, and it’s not just for some people to do it, but it’s for all of us to do it. Then, I believe that we will find ourselves in an even worse downward spiral. So, here’s what I believe, I believe we need a national conversation, and we start showing respect toward one another, seeing each other, walking in each other’s shoes. I think we have to show our support for our police, under very difficult circumstances, particularly, as we have seen in the last day, the bravery of police officers running toward danger, and being shot down. At the same time, we’ve got to do criminal justice reform, and we need national guidelines about the use of force, particularly lethal force, so, routine traffic stops don’t escalate into killings. We also have to be honest, all of us, in facing implicit bias, that all of us, unfortunately, I think, may still have.
HOLT: Let me talk about the climate in this country, in this campaign specifically. It’s been very heated. Mayor Rawlings, here in Dallas, talked about asking people to stop fighting each other in this country, from the pulpit, from the political spectrum, to choose words carefully. Do you think the environment, the heated campaign, the rhetoric, has at all contributed to the climate that allowed this to happen?
CLINTON: I think the mayor is right, Lester. I think that something has been unleashed in our nation where people are saying cruel and hateful things about one another, from all kinds of vantage points. In many ways, the Internet has turned into a terrible example of how people anonymously say the worst possible things about their neighbor down the street, the girl in school, or political officials. Yes. We are, unfortunately, in the grip of some very divisive and hateful rhetoric. And I think that that’s a broadly shared view.
HOLT: Will you change your campaign tone at all?
CLINTON: Well, I think our tone has been very careful. You know, we have gone to criticize people for what they have done. We’ve tried to stay away from name-calling. But I will certainly take a hard look about what more we can do, because what I’m interested in is bringing our country together, not deepening the divides. And I want white people to understand how African-Americans feel every day. The anxiety and fear, particularly sending off their children, particularly young men, not knowing what’s going to happen to them. I want people to put themselves in the shoes of police officers and their families, who get up every day, and go off and do a very dangerous job. We need to start looking at each other as fellow Americans, and we need to be listening and working together to try to stem the violence, the hatred, the divisive rhetoric. And, yes, I’m going to do my best to try to bring that about in my campaign, and then in the White House, working on specific ways to try to create, you know, more understanding between us.