Three Democratic candidates for president addressed in Kansas City the conference of the largest Hispanic civil rights organization in the country.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley each spoke about immigration reform, economic equality, and took stabs at Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans for Trumps recent remarks about immigrants.
Speaking about Trump, Clinton told about 2,000 people in the Grand Ballroom of Bartle Hall that it was “appalling to hear Donald Trump describe immigrants as drug dealers, rapists, and criminals. He’s talking about people you and I know, isn’t he?”
She and O’Malley sought to link Trump’s remarks to other Republicans.
“The real problem isn’t that the Republicans have such a hate-spewing character running for president,” said O’Malley. “The problem is that it’s so hard to tell him apart from the other candidates they have in their field.”
Sanders said Trump would not succeed in dividing people by country of origin, and in comments after his speech called Trump’s remarks an “outrage.”
Speaking about economic equality, Clinton went after Republican Jeb Bush for saying Americans need to work more hours.
“He should tell that to the farm workers breaking their backs picking fruit in southern California, or he should tell that to the dish washers working their hands raw in the kitchens in Las Vegas, or he should tell that to the nurse who stands on her feet all day, or the trucker who drives all night, or the fast food workers marching in the streets for better pay,” said Clinton. “They don’t need a lecture. They need a raise.”
Sanders said he wants to see a $15-an hour minimum wage as well as affordable education.
“I have introduced legislation which would make public colleges and public universities tuition free,” said Sanders.
All three spoke about immigration reform.
O’Malley told the crowd, “It is in the best interest of every citizen in the United States for us to reform an immigration system that is callous, irrational, inhuman, unjust, and sells our nation short.”
Clinton also fired a volley at Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R), who at the same time the conference was going on was announcing the launch of his campaign for governor. She contrasted himself from him and other Republicans who have backed things like right-to-work.
“Republican governors like Scott Walker have made their names stomping on workers’ rights and practically all the Republican candidates hope to do the same, as president,” said Clinton. “I will stand up to these attacks. If we want to get serious about raising incomes, we have to get serious about supporting union members.”
The Republican National Committee’s Director for Hispanic Media, Ruth Guerra, responded to Clinton’s speech, saying she, “is ignoring the fact that a Democrat has occupied the White House for the past six and a half years – a period that has seen the weakest economic recovery in modern history, particularly for millions of Hispanics across the country.”
“Latinos have heard the same story from Democrats for far too long,” Guerra continued. “Whether it’s the economy, education or immigration, Democrats’ playbook is full of empty rhetoric and broken promises.”