With her eyes toward the general election, on Thursday, Democratic Party front-runner Hillary Clinton took aim at Donald Trump. In a scathing, uncharacteristically blunt speech delivered in San Diego, Clinton addressed America's national security and, specifically, the threats America will face if Trump becomes commander in chief. Through Clinton and Trump have been taking jabs at each other all year, her remarks Thursday were the strongest attack yet against the presumptive Republican nominee. Here are her 13 most powerful lines:
1. "Donald Trump's ideas aren't just different—they are dangerously incoherent. They're not even really ideas—just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies."
2. "This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes—because it's not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin."
3. "We cannot put the security of our children and grandchildren in Donald Trump's hands. We cannot let him roll the dice with America."
4. "He says he doesn't have to listen to our generals or our admirals, our ambassadors and other high officials, because he has—quote—'a very good brain.''"
5. "He says he has foreign policy experience because he ran the Miss Universe pageant in Russia."
6. "It's no small thing when he calls Mexican immigrants 'rapists and murderers.' We're lucky to have two friendly neighbors on our land borders. Why would he want to make one of them an enemy?"
7. " There's no risk of people losing their lives if you blow up a golf-course deal. But it doesn't work like that in world affairs. Just like being interviewed on the same episode of 60 Minutes as Putin was, is not the same thing as actually dealing with Putin. So the stakes in global statecraft are infinitely higher and more complex than in the world of luxury hotels. We all know the tools Donald Trump brings to the table—bragging, mocking, composing nasty tweets—I'm willing to bet he's writing a few right now."
8. "And I have to say, I don't understand Donald's bizarre fascination with dictators and strongmen who have no love for America. He praised China for the Tiananmen Square massacre; he said it showed strength. He said, 'You've got to give Kim Jong Un credit' for taking over North Korea—something he did by murdering everyone he saw as a threat, including his own uncle, which Donald described gleefully, like he was recapping an action movie. And he said if he were grading Vladimir Putin as a leader, he'd give him an A. Now, I'll leave it to the psychiatrists to explain his affection for tyrants. I just wonder how anyone could be so wrong about who America's real friends are. Because it matters. If you don't know exactly who you're dealing with, men like Putin will eat your lunch."
9. "A Trump presidency would embolden ISIS. We cannot take that risk. This isn't reality television—this is actual reality."
10. "So it really matters that Donald Trump says things that go against our deepest-held values. It matters when he says he'll order our military to murder the families of suspected terrorists. During the raid to kill bin Laden, when every second counted, our SEALs took the time to move the women and children in the compound to safety. Donald Trump may not get it, but that's what honor looks like. And it also matters when he makes fun of disabled people, calls women 'pigs,' proposes banning an entire religion from our country, or plays coy with white supremacists. America stands up to countries that treat women like animals, or people of different races, religions, or ethnicities as less human."
11. "What happens to the moral example we set—for the world and for our own children—if our president engages in bigotry? And by the way, Mr. Trump—every time you insult American Muslims or Mexican immigrants, remember that plenty of Muslims and immigrants serve and fight in our armed forces. Donald Trump could learn something from them."
12. "Now imagine Donald Trump sitting in the Situation Room, making life-or-death decisions on behalf of the United States. Imagine him deciding whether to send your spouses or children into battle. Imagine if he had not just his Twitter account at his disposal when he's angry, but America's entire arsenal. Do we want him making those calls—someone thin-skinned and quick to anger, who lashes out at the smallest criticism? Do we want his finger anywhere near the button?"
13. "This election is a choice between two very different visions of America. One that's angry, afraid, and based on the idea that America is fundamentally weak and in decline. The other is hopeful, generous, and confident in the knowledge that America is great—just like we always have been."
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Prachi Gupta is an award-winning journalist based in New York. Her first book, about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is available via Workman Publishing.
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