LOS ANGELES — Former President Bill Clinton slammed Donald Trump at a campaign stop in Inglewood on Saturday, saying “we’ve got to start acting like Americans again and stop dumping all over each other.”
Clinton, who was campaigning for his wife ahead of California’s Democratic primary Tuesday, suggested Trump’s campaign slogan and frequent pledge to “make America great again” is a “signal” to some voters who might be uneasy about the country’s demographic change.
“He means: ‘I’ll make it the way it used to be,’ ” Clinton said. “Well it wasn’t so great for a lot of people.”
Clinton spoke to an audience made up mostly of black and Latino voters from the bed of a pickup truck adorned with American flags. The late-morning rally in a sunny city park was one of approximately a dozen appearances he has planned across Southern California in the home stretch before Tuesday’s election.
His wife, Hillary Clinton, is locked in a tight battle with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in California’s Democratic primary. Still, the former president barely mentioned Sanders, instead focusing his comments on Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, as well as President Barack Obama.
Clinton heaped praise on Obama, touting his work to avert economic collapse during the Great Recession and his work to increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance.
“President Obama has done a way better job than he often gets credit for,” Clinton said after being introduced by Inglewood Mayor James Butts and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., two of the region’s best-known black politicians.
The Clinton campaign will need high turnout from black voters to pull ahead of Sanders, who polls show has split the Latino vote and has made significant inroads among young voters.
The Clintons have a long history with black voters, many of whom helped elect Bill Clinton president. That relationship was tested eight years ago when Hillary Clinton lost to Obama in a hard fought Democratic primary.
Those divisions seem to have mostly healed. Clinton has done well among blacks, especially older voters, in several state primary elections this year.
Inglewood resident Zanetta Robinson, 52, who attended Saturday’s rally, said it meant a lot to her that Hillary Clinton went on to serve as secretary of state under Obama.
“I was really appreciative of that,” she said.
She said she has fond memories of Bill Clinton’s time as president.
“I really loved him,” she said. “I thought he did the economy great.”
In part because of that, she said she and her whole family plan to vote for Clinton on Tuesday.