NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Clinton defended her family’s foundation on Friday, saying that the charitable work it has conducted is in line with American values.
The Democratic presidential nominee suggested in an interview that the group’s programs would continue, perhaps through other organizations, even as critics argue it would present a conflict of interest if she’s elected president.
“The work has been not only transformational, it has really been in line with American interests and values,” she said in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” ”And we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that good work continues.”
Her comments followed Clinton’s speech in Nevada in which she accused rival Donald Trump of unleashing the “radical fringe” within the Republican Party, including anti-Semites and white supremacists. She dubbed the billionaire businessman’s campaign as one that will “make America hate again.”
Trump rejected Clinton’s allegations, defending his hard-line approach to immigration while making the case that she was trying to distract from questions swirling around donations to The Clinton Foundation and her use of her private email servers.
“She lies, she smears, she paints decent Americans as racists,” Trump said, in a Thursday address.
Clinton said she doesn’t expect any more political distractions to arise from her use of a private server. She promised to put in place additional safeguards to prevent conflicts of interest with her foundation should she win the White House.
“I appreciate the concerns that people have expressed and that’s why I have made it clear that if I’m successful in November we are going to be taking additional steps,” she said.
The back-and-forth accusations came as the two candidates vie for minorities and any undecided voters. With just weeks before the first early voting, Trump faces the urgent task of revamping his image to win over those skeptical of his candidacy.
Clinton is eager to capitalize on Trump’s slipping poll numbers, particularly among moderate Republican women turned off by his controversial campaign. “Don’t be fooled” by Trump’s efforts to rebrand, she told voters Thursday, saying the United States faced a “moment of reckoning.”
“He’s taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over one of America’s two major political parties,” she said.
Trump tried to get ahead of the Democratic nominee, addressing a crowd in Manchester, New Hampshire, minutes before Clinton.
“Hillary Clinton is going to try to accuse this campaign, and the millions of decent Americans who support this campaign, of being racists,” Trump predicted.
“To Hillary Clinton, and to her donors and advisers, pushing her to spread her smears and her lies about decent people, I have three words,” he said. “I want you to hear these words, and remember these words: Shame on you.”
Clinton did not address any of the accusations about her family foundation in her remarks. Instead, she offered a strident denouncement of Trump’s campaign and the so-called alt-right movement, which is often associated with efforts on the far right to preserve “white identity,” oppose multiculturalism and defend “Western values.”
Trump, who also met Thursday in New York with members of a new Republican Party initiative meant to train young — and largely minority — volunteers, has been working to win over blacks and Latinos in light of his past inflammatory comments. He claims that the Democrats have taken minority voters’ support for granted. “They’ve been very disrespectful, as far as I’m concerned, to the African-American population in this country,” Trump said.
Many black leaders and voters have dismissed Trump’s message as condescending and intended more to reassure undecided white voters that he’s not racist.
Cornell William Brooks, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” Thursday that Trump has not reached out to the organization for any reason. He added that Trump refused the group’s invitation to speak at its convention.
“We’re going to make it clear: You don’t get to the White House unless you travel through the doors of the NAACP,” Brooks said. “More importantly, you don’t get to the White House without addressing the nation’s civil rights agenda.”
Lerer reported from Hartford, Connecticut. Jill Colvin contributed reporting from Washington and Jonathan Lemire from Manchester, New Hampshire.
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