Hillary Clinton began her closing argument for New York primary voters on Wednesday with a defense of the state’s values that doubled as a harsh rebuke of her fellow New Yorker and presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
“We're gonna stand up for the values that make New York great and make America great,” Clinton said from the historic stage of Harlem’s Apollo Theater, echoing Trump's campaign slogan and Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s January attack on what he called “New York values.”
While continuing to compete for primary votes and to contrast herself with her opponent for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton has in recent weeks focused her attention on the Republican field and Trump in particular, aware that he’s her most likely opponent in the general election. With the primary calendar coming to the home turf of three candidates (hers since the late 1990s, Trump’s since birth, and Sanders was born and raised in Brooklyn), Clinton tried to appeal to New York primary voters and beyond.
“New York is home to 20 million people. We don’t all look the same, we don’t all sound the same or worship the same either. But we pull together,” she said. “And when a candidate for president says we can solve Americas problems by building walls, discriminating against people based on their religion and turning against each other. Well, New Yorkers know better.”
“It’s cynical, it’s wrong and it goes against everything New York and America stand for,” she told a diverse crowd that filled the theater to its rafters.
Earlier Wednesday, Clinton's campaign released an ad airing in New York that includes shots of a Trump construction site and a Trump rally as Clinton speaks disapprovingly of Trump's “message of division.”
Before her speech at the Apollo, Clinton stopped for coffee and a slice of red velvet cake at Make My Cake on the corner of 116th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. There, she called it a “joy to be campaigning in New York” and pledged to campaign across the state ahead of the April 19 primary.
“We’re gonna cover the city, we’re gonna cover the suburbs, we’re gonna cover upstate because I want to really make my case to those people who gave me a start and took a chance on me all those years ago,” she said, referring to her first race for the U.S. Senate in 2000.
New York Representative Charles Rangel, who was among those who encouraged her to run for the seat, was along for the visit and offered his own, if slightly off-message, take on Trump.
“New York City has made one of the biggest donations to the Democratic Party and his name is Donald Trump,” he told reporters before Clinton arrived, repeating the line a second time once Clinton was within earshot.