While a lot of the attention yesterday was on Donald Trump's disastrous trip to Mexico to meet with President Nieto, followed by Trump's truly scary calls in Phoenix for a mass deportation force to round up millions, Hillary Clinton was here in downtown Cincy speaking to the annual American Legion conference and providing a major contrast with actual foreign policy leadership as opposed to Trump's inchoate screaming.
Donald Trump's visit to Mexico Wednesday serves as an example of the way a Trump presidency would undermine the U.S.'s leadership as an "exceptional" nation, Hillary Clinton told veterans Wednesday.
Clinton censured Trump for "trying to make up for a year of insults and insinuations by dropping in on our neighbors for a few hours and then flying home again," as her Republican opponent headed to Mexico to test his diplomatic prowess in a visit with the country's president.
Trump has criticized some Mexican immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally, and his signature campaign issue has been his pledge to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and persuade Mexico to pay for it.
"That's not how it works," Clinton said of diplomacy and international leadership. Still, she avoided the jokes and mockery she sometimes uses when criticizing Trump and avoided saying his name in her speech to the American Legion gathering – a group that included some Trump supporters – at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati.
Clinton carefully pitched her foreign policy, you know, the one that doesn't include the absolute fantasy of a massive multi-billion dollar wall and an army of ICE deportation goons.
In Cincinnati, Clinton argued Trump has rejected American exceptionalism, the notion that the U.S. has a special role in the world as a leader and purveyor of democracy. The principle has traditionally been championed by Republicans, whom Clinton is trying to woo, and Trump has drawn on the principle in some ways, such as by insisting that America strive to become "great" again.
But Trump generally has opposed the use of the term and rejected the principle that the U.S. is better than other countries, to whom he routinely says the U.S. is losing.
"My opponent is wrong when he says that America is no longer great," Clinton said Wednesday, echoing the feelings of many devotees of American exceptionalism. They advocate for more engagement of the U.S. internationally to spread democratic ideals, while Trump has often taken a more isolationist approach.
That approach would hurt the U.S.'s standing, Clinton said, vowing to keep the U.S. the "greatest country on Earth."
“Our power comes with a responsibility to lead humbly, thoughtfully and with a fierce commitment to our values," she said. "When America fails to lead, we leave a vacuum.”
Trump will be in town today to address the American Legion, so I'd stay out of downtown if I were you.