US presidential campaign week: Attacks, racial tensions and debate prep

Agence France-Presse
US presidential campaign week: Attacks, racial tensions and debate prep
Here's a summary of the week in the US presidential campaign, as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump prepare for their first televised debate

WASHINGTON DC, USA – Bomb blasts in New York and New Jersey and a police shooting of an African American man triggering violent protests put security concerns back at the forefront of the US presidential campaign this week, as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump prepared for their first televised debate.

Here’s a summary of the week in the US presidential campaign:

New York and New Jersey bombings
Trump used the bombings to return to his favorite topic, immigration, including policy concerning refugees from the war in Syria. The accused bomber is an Afghan-born American.

“We are going to stop the tens of thousands of people coming in from Syria. We have no idea who they are, where they come from. There’s no documentation. There’s no paperwork. It’s going to end badly, folks. It’s going to end very, very badly,” he said Wednesday. He also reiterated his previous suggestion to carry out racial profiling of Muslims.

Clinton, however, responded to the attacks by saying “Let us be vigilant, but not afraid.” She stressed her counterterrorism experience from her tenure as secretary of state.

Violence in Charlotte
Several nights of violent protests wracked the North Carolina city after police shot and killed an African American man, the latest in a series of high-profile shootings of black men involving law enforcement.

Trump suggested police should stop and frisk people more frequently, a practice long in force in his hometown of New York until it was deemed unconstitutional because it mainly targeted blacks and Latinos.

“I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to. We did it in New York. It worked incredibly well,” he said when asked what he would do to stop violence in black communities.

He later backtracked and said he was speaking only of Chicago, where 500 people have already been killed in shootings so far this year.

Reduced schedule
Clinton held only two campaign events on Monday and Tuesday. She focused largely on preparing for the first presidential debate, which takes place Monday.

A simple mistake could prove very costly just six weeks before the November 8 election.

“They say she’s been practicing for the debate. Some people think she’s sleeping,” Trump quipped on Thursday.

Clinton has spent several days practicing for the debate with Trump stand-ins to get ready for anticipated broadsides or other attacks from Trump, who has, however, promised to be respectful.

The Republican candidate also scaled back his schedule, but held at least one rally per day, except Friday. “It’s going great,” he said late Thursday of the debate prep, looking very relaxed.

Bush senior voting for Clinton
What should have stayed a secret made headlines around the world, when Kathleen Kennedy Townsend – the eldest daughter of the late attorney general Robert F. Kennedy – revealed that former Republican president George H.W. Bush would vote for Clinton.

“The President told me he’s voting for Hillary!!” she wrote in a Facebook post. She then removed the message, but it was too late. Bush, 92, has neither confirmed nor denied the report.

Cruz backs Trump
Two months after refusing to support Trump in a very public rebuke of the Republican candidate at the party’s convention that crowned him as its nominee, Texas Senator Ted Cruz made an about-turn, announcing that he would vote for his once-bitter primary rival.

“Even though I have had areas of significant disagreement with our nominee, by any measure Hillary Clinton is wholly unacceptable — that’s why I have always been #NeverHillary,” he said in a Facebook post.

Syrian refugees and candy
Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr sparked outrage by comparing Syrian refugees to a bowl of potentially deadly Skittles candy.

“If I had a bowl of Skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem,” read the message on Twitter featuring an image of a bowl of Skittles.

Even the candy company rejected the comment angrily.

“Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy. We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing,” said Wrigley, which owns Skittles.

Trump Foundation under fire
Did Trump break the law? The Washington Post reported he had used $258,000 from his eponymous charity to pay legal bills involving his for-profit businesses. He also spent $10,000 to purchase a portrait of himself at a charity fundraiser in 2014, while his wife bought another large portrait in 2007 for $20,000, according to the report. It also said Trump had not donated a single dollar since 2009 to his foundation, which is funded by wealthy donors. –

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