Hillary Clinton unleashed her most critical assessment of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, saying during an Ohio Democratic Party dinner on Sunday night in Columbus that he will do anything to get votes.
"Donald Trump is running a cynical campaign of hate and fear, for one reason: to get votes," she said. "He’s encouraging violence and chaos to get votes. He is pitting Americans against each other to get votes."
Clinton has become increasingly critical of Trump, as the violence and chaos around his political events have reached unprecedented levels. After initially seeking to take the high road, encouraging Americans to overcome their differences, Clinton on Sunday night mark a sharp escalation and an effort to take on Trump directly.
She denounced his calls to "round up" millions of undocumented immigrants and deport them, to kill the families of terrorists and to authorize the U.S. military to engage in torture, which is illegal under U.S. and international law.
"After stoking every fire he can think of, Trump encourages his supporters to beat up anybody who disagrees with him — literally punch them in the face — and then offers to pay their legal bills," Clinton said.
The litany of Trump's offenses was capped with an exhortation, one that foreshadows a key challenge for Democrats if they face him in the fall: Clinton urged those opposed to Trump to defeat him by voting.
"You and I know Donald Trump is not who we are," she said. "Of course, we can criticize and protest Mr. Trump all we want. But none of that matters if we also don’t show up at the polls."
She added: "If you want to shut him down, then let’s vote him down."