Clinton criticizes Trump for remarks on
security briefing, Putin
Send a link to a friend
[September 09, 2016]
By Jeff Mason
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (Reuters) - U.S.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton slammed Republican
rival Donald Trump on Thursday for talking about things he learned in
classified intelligence briefings and for praising Russia's Vladimir
Putin as a better leader than President Barack Obama.
Speaking to reporters the day after a New York security forum featuring
separate appearances by the two candidates, Clinton also criticized the
businessman for saying U.S. generals had been "reduced to rubble" by
At the televised forum on Wednesday night, Trump said he was "shocked"
by information he got during the briefing. "What I did learn is that our
leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow what our experts ... said to
do," Trump said.
Clinton, who was secretary of state during Obama's first term, said
Trump's comments on the briefing were "totally inappropriate and
"I would never comment on any aspect of an intelligence briefing I
received," Clinton said before boarding her campaign plane. As nominees
for the Nov. 8 presidential election, she and Trump are entitled to
receive intelligence briefings.
Clinton said Trump's praise of Putin as a better leader than Obama was
"not just unpatriotic and insulting to the people of our country, as
well as to our commander in chief, it is scary."
"It suggests he will let Putin do whatever Putin wants to do and then
make excuses for him," Clinton said.
Trump fired back at Clinton, saying her comments were an effort to make
up for a poor performance during the security forum.
"Hillary Clinton is always complaining about what's wrong," he said
during a campaign stop in Cleveland, where he visited a charter school
and proposed federal spending on "school choice" programs.
"I just watched her on the tarmac. She tried to make up for her horrible
performance last night," Trump said.
The intensifying political combat came as Clinton's lead in opinion
polls has slipped in recent days. The current average of polls by
website RealClearPolitics puts her at 45.6 percent support, compared
with Trump's 42.8 percent.
Obama also hit back at Trump for criticizing his foreign policy record,
saying the Republican nominee was unfit to follow him into the Oval
Office and the public should press Trump on his "outright wacky ideas."
The televised "Commander-in-Chief" forum on Wednesday, attended by
military veterans, was the first time Trump and Clinton had squared off
on the same stage since accepting their parties' White House nominations
in July, although they did not appear at the same time.
A PRELUDE TO DEBATES
The forum offered a prelude to how Clinton and Trump will deal with
questions of national security in their three upcoming presidential
debates later in September and in October.
Clinton has said her experience in government as secretary of state and
a U.S. senator makes her uniquely qualified for the White House, and
that Trump's series of controversial comments make him temperamentally
unfit for the office.
Some of Trump's foreign policy positions, such as his proposal to fight
terrorism by imposing a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country,
have alarmed not just Democrats but many in his own party's leadership.
Trump, who has never held elected office, has criticized Clinton's
judgment for backing the 2003 Iraq war and her support for the U.S.
intervention in Libya in 2011. The Republican candidate was widely
criticized recently when he called her a "co-founder," along with Obama,
of the Islamic State militant group.
[to top of second column]
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds a news
conference on the airport tarmac in front of her campaign plane in
White Plains, New York, United States September 8, 2016.
Clinton, who voted in favor of the 2003 Iraq war as a senator but
has since said she regrets doing so, said she would convene a
meeting of bipartisan security experts on Friday to discuss the
fight against Islamic State.
"What you didnít hear from Donald Trump last night was any plan to
take on ISIS," Clinton told reporters, using an acronym for the
group. "Thatís not only dangerous, it should be disqualifying."
Trump and Clinton supporters went on the offensive on social media
Wednesday night and Thursday morning, defending their candidatesí
performances during the forum.
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway spoke with Trump supporters
in Congress on Thursday morning, and Trump spoke with the group by
phone to thank them for their support. Some supporters shrugged off
his comments about Putin.
"I think he is being very smart in how he addresses Putin and you
know, maybe he's playing with Putin's ego," said Representative
Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.
Mike Pence, Trump's vice presidential running mate, told CNN it was
"inarguable" that Putin had been a stronger leader of Russia than
Obama had been in the United states.
House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the top elected
Republican official, who has frequently broken with Trump, took a
sharply different view.
"Putin is an aggressor that does not share our interests. Vladimir
Putin is violating the sovereignty of neighboring countries," Ryan
told reporters at his weekly news conference.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told reporters
at the Cleveland rally that Trump was not endorsing Putin with his
"He doesn't agree with his style of government. He wasn't saying
that," he said.
Clinton said Republicans holding or seeking office across the
country should be pressed on whether they agree with Trump's
comments, including his views on Putin and U.S. generals that
surfaced during the forum.
"Republicans are just in a terrible dilemma trying to support a
totally unqualified nominee, I have no sympathy for them, itís their
nominee," she said.
(Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Cleveland, Ginger Gibson,
Emily Stephenson and Susan Heavey in Washington, Amy Tennery in New
York; Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Andrew Hay and Leslie
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.