|Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally in Pittsburgh on June 14, 2016.|
Hillary Clinton told USA TODAY on Wednesday she plans to make the case for why Donald Trump is "temperamentally unfit" to manage the nation's economy and pledged to end a tax loophole for wealthy Americans by executive action if necessary in a preview of a second major policy address, scheduled for next week, that casts the real estate mogul as dangerous and unqualified.
In her first interview after meeting with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday night in Washington, Clinton declined to offer a definitive position on one of his key demands as his Democratic presidential bid winds down: that party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz be replaced. While Clinton praised Wasserman Schultz for her commitment to defeating Donald Trump, she noted that she had not selected the Florida congresswoman to head the Democratic National Committee, but had not “heard any conversations in the party” about making a change.
Earlier this month in San Diego, Clinton delivered a blistering speech that cast Trump as too dangerous to serve as the nation’s commander in chief due to his proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, lack of foreign policy knowledge and his temperament. She's continued those attacks in the days following Sunday's Orlando nightclub massacre, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
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In a speech in Columbus next Wednesday, Clinton said she will make "a similar case on the economy that I did on foreign policy: that Donald Trump is erratic and temperamentally unfit to be responsible for the world's largest economy."
Clinton pointed to one example of Trump's "incoherent" economic argument by noting that the billionaire has built his populist appeal around leveling the playing field for lower-income Americans, even though she said his tax plan gives a $3 trillion break to millionaires and billionaires over the next 10 years.
She pointed out that his proposal would lower rates for hedge-fund and private equity managers by creating a new, lower 15% bracket. "They would actually see their carried interest rate cut by one-third, making the loophole worse rather than closing it," she said. Previewing her speech next week, she said, "He's either completely incoherent or he hasn't thought one bit about his plan."
Clinton said she’ll pledge that, if Congress does not act, as president she'll ask the Treasury Department to use its regulatory authority to end a tax advantage, commonly referred to as the carried-interest loophole, that allows hedge-fund managers to pay a lower rate than other taxpayers by counting their income as investment income. Clinton will unveil a middle-class tax cut plan at a later date, according to her campaign.
Clinton’s speech will seek to undercut Trump’s appeal to middle- and lower-income Americans who’ve been drawn to his populist pledges to bring back manufacturing and coal jobs by slapping fines on China and cutting better trade deals.
The goal is to demonstrate how his rhetoric does not match his policies, which would disproportionately favor wealthier Americans, according to the campaign. The tax plan could be a ripe target since Trump initially indicated a willingness to raise taxes on the wealthy, then subsequently backed off those comments.
Regarding the meeting with Sanders, the presumptive Democratic nominee did not completely dismiss several of his demands as he refuses to concede the race to Clinton, including changes to superdelegates and for new leadership at the Democratic National Committee. Clinton and Sanders met after she carried the final Democratic primary in Washington, D.C.
“I’ve seen how committed she is to making sure Donald Trump is not the president,” Clinton said of Wasserman Schultz. “I’ve not heard any conversations in the party about changes,” she added, noting the Florida congresswoman was recommended by President Obama. "Obviously, we're going to go forward after this election with a new and invigorated party," she said.
As her campaign vets potential vice presidential candidates, Clinton gave another nod to Sanders, indicating she is prioritizing those with a progressive profile. “We've got a great group of Democrats that are progressive and who agree with me about the direction of the country,” she said, also noting that she is “just beginning” the process.
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As for Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee has doubled down on his proposed temporary ban on Muslims following the Orlando shootings and even proposed broadening it. Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have been critical of the proposal, yet they have not withdrawn their endorsement of Trump as the party’s nominee.
"It's something that not just Democrats and the press are noticing but a lot of Republicans are noticing as well," Clinton said.
"Now he is accusing our president of somehow encouraging terrorists and it is really offensive, even pathetic," she said. "And I do wonder how Republican leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can stay silent while their presumptive party nominee suggests that the President of the United States supports terrorists."
Finally, Clinton said she still has not heard from the FBI regarding its investigation into her private server as secretary of State. "I just hope they wrap it up soon," she said.