After appearing with Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Ohio, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton returned home to Chicago Monday, where she lamented the city’s victims of gun violence and applauded House Democrats for their sit-in.
“I don’t know about you but I think saving our children and our people from gun violence is a civil rights issue right now,” Clinton said at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s annual women’s luncheon in Bronzeville.
While responding to recent attacks of her own trustworthiness, Clinton also took time to deem her opponent Donald Trump “a man with dangerous, incoherent ideas.”
Speaking in a city with incessant gun violence, Clinton spoke of the need for “common sense gun safety reform,” citing Orlando, Sandy Hook and Chicago itself.
“Our country also must mourn and remember the 64 people shot across the city right here in Chicago on Memorial Day weekend, and the 33,000 killed by gun violence every year in America,” Clinton said.
Clinton also mentioned Blair Holt, the 16-year-old Julian High School student who was shot dead on a CTA bus.
Clinton focused on Chicago’s gun violence while campaigning here on March 14, the day before the Illinois primary. Back then she visited with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Kids off the Block Memorial, 11618 S. Michigan Ave., which features 501 bricks shaped like small headstones. Each brick represents a youth from the community who’s been killed.
On Monday, Clinton, born in Chicago and raised in north suburban Park Ridge, received a standing ovation from the luncheon crowd. She took to the stage nearly an hour later than scheduled, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind.
She began her 27-minute speech by singling out Representatives Robin Kelly and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Maxine Waters of California for their roles in the Democratic sit-in for gun control in the House last week.
Clinton also lauded President Barack Obama, who finally endorsed her presidential bid earlier this month.
“He protected us from another Great Depression,” Clinton said.
Clinton thanked Jackson for his support — the civil rights leader formally endorsed her for president two weeks ago.
And the former senator and secretary of state spoke at length — and candidly — about working to gain the trust of uncertain voters.
“A lot of people tell pollsters they don’t trust me. Now I don’t like hearing that, and I have thought a lot about what is behind it,” Clinton said. “You know you hear 25 years worth of wild accusations, anyone would start to wonder. And it’s certainly true that I have made mistakes. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t.”
Clinton said she understands why some question her, and she could spend time to try to persuade those people by countering negative attacks.
“But that doesn’t work for everyone. You can’t just talk someone into trusting you. You have got to earn it,” Clinton said. “So yes, I can say the reason I sometimes sound careful with my words is not that I’m hiding something. It’s just that I’m careful with my words.”
As Trump continues to try to paint Clinton as an untrustworthy opponent, Clinton staked out her ground as a unifier and Trump as a divider.
“He plays coy with white supremacists. He mocks people with disabilities. He said he wants to ban an entire religion from coming to America. He wants to get rid of gun-free zones around schools. Let more countries have nuclear weapons, default on our national debt, turn back the clock on marriage equality. He doesn’t think we need to raise the minimum wage,” Clinton said. “I could go on and on. … Every day Donald Trump proves he’s not in this for the American people. He’s in it for himself and he is temperamentally unfit to be president.”
She also warned that the next president will be in charge of nominating Supreme Court justices.
“Boy we cannot let that president be Donald Trump,” she said.
Clinton also planned to attend a fundraiser later Monday at The Ivy Room, 12 E. Ohio St., for her Hillary for America fund. Hosts have to raise $27,000 and get a VIP reception with Clinton. General admission is $2,700.
The hosts are members of her National Finance Committee, called “Hillblazers,” individuals who have raised more than $100,000 since she launched her presidential bid on April 12, 2015.