Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton attempted Wednesday to pre-empt Donald Trump’s visit to Mexico later in the day, telling an American Legion convention in Cincinnati Trump could not undo a year of insults in a few hours.
“It certainly takes more than trying to make up for a year of insults and insinuations by dropping in on our neighbors for a few hours and then flying home again. That is not how it works,” said Clinton, whose main achievement as Secretary of State was the sheer number of her foreign visits.
The bulk of Clinton’s speech was a confused, incoherent muddle of talking points, at times contradictory. For example, she mocked Trump for calling the military a “disaster” — by which he meant the poor condition of the armed forces — and then called for the U.S. to “modernize” the military, effectively conceding Trump’s point.
At times, Clinton seemed to be arguing for a third term for President Barack Obama, touting his supposed accomplishments in foreign policy, including the Iran deal. She painted a picture of a world, and a nation, in far better shape than in 2009 — a far distance from how most Americans view the direction in which the country is heading. She talked about her role in the Osama bin Laden raid, which was mostly that of an observer — and, of course, made no mention of her role in Libya, or in Benghazi.
The confused tone of the speech, however, suggests that the Clinton campaign does not know how to counter Trump’s visit. Less than a week after she called him a bigot and likened him to the Ku Klux Klan, he will be welcomed by a Mexican leader who once made the same claims but has since backed away from them. While she faces new revelations about her destroyed emails, he is playing the statesman abroad.
Clinton still has her lead in the polls, but what she lacks, dangerously, is a message.