Clinton did not comment at length on allegations by several women that Trump groped them or otherwise behaved inappropriately, although a top aide said earlier Friday that such a direct discussion is in the offing.
“The whole world saw how Donald Trump has bragged about mistreating women, and the disturbing stories keep coming,” Clinton said. “And it’s not only women — there’s a long list.”
She made one of her most pointed critiques of the Republican nominee, saying he is unlike all the Republicans whom she has opposed politically throughout her career.
“I’ve had my differences with them on policies and principles, but I never questioned their fitness to serve. Donald Trump is different. He is unqualified and unfit to be the president of the United States,” she said to applause.
“And every single day his campaign proves that, doesn’t it?”
Earlier Friday, Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri said Clinton will directly address the claims of sexual assault, but would not say when. She suggested it will be a prominent feature of the next debate, next week.
“I think you should expect to see her do this,” Palmieri said. She would not be more specific.
“I'll let her speak . . . at her events and on the debate stage, but you should certainly expect to see her continue to take this on.”
Speaking to reporters aboard Clinton's plane, Palmieri also slammed Trump for repeating conspiracies “from the furthest right, most disturbing elements of the [Republican] Party.”
“We’ve seen the new, conspiratorial, the global conspiratorial, comments from Donald Trump. I would note that these comments I first saw come from Alex Jones of Infowars in August and are now being spread by the Republican nominee for president,” Palmieri said, invoking one of Clinton's most vocal critics on the far right.
“It would be laughable that a Republican nominee for president would have allowed his campaign to be overtaken by Breitbart and Infowars, except that it is a very dangerous and cynical thing to do to try to convince voters of these lies,” Palmieri said.
“But it does appear that that is the path Trump has decided to take in these final weeks. He’s offering destruction in the form of attacks and conspiracy theories.”
The strategy “won't help him electorally,” Palmieri said. “I don't think it's gong to bring him any new voters.”
Clinton will continue making a positive case for her election, Palmieri said.
“We think this is a time for her to make clear to everyone that she's going to be a president for everyone.”
Asked whether Trump's remarks Thursday linking Clinton to a supposed global banking conspiracy were anti-Semitic, Palmieri indicated that the Clinton campaign views them as discriminatory. Clinton is a Methodist.
“I think that there are dog whistles in just about everything he says, including the comments yesterday that have racial overtones, religious discrimination, discriminatory, overtones,” Palmieri said. “That's been true for a while, but . . . the conspiracy theories from yesterday were particularly pronounced.”
Clinton will spend time preparing for the debate Wednesday in much the same way she has prepared for the previous two, Palmieri said.
The session is the “last, biggest audience” before Election Day, she said.
“You don't like to have to take a lot of time off the trail to do that, but we have found that this is very worthwhile.”