Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton called on venerable civil-rights group the NAACP on Monday to defeat Republican rival Donald Trump in his bid for the White House.
Speaking at the annual NAACP conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, as the Republican National Convention opened several hundred miles away, Clinton insisted that Trump was unfit to be president and announced a nationwide drive to register millions of new voters.
Clinton painted her tycoon opponent as a threat to democracy, lacking a policy platform and whose company refused to rent to African American tenants in the 1970s.
“Donald Trump plays coy with white supremacists. Donald Trump insults Mexican immigrants… Donald Trump demeans women. Donald Trump wants to ban an entire religion from entering our country and Donald Trump loves to talk to the press,” she said.
Trump is to be anointed as Republican presidential nominee at the four-day convention in Cleveland by the party once led by Abraham Lincoln, the celebrated US president who abolished slavery in the 19th century.
Clinton told the NAACP crowd that the Republicans were becoming the party of Trump.
“It is a threat to our democracy and it all adds up to an undeniable conclusion… Donald Trump cannot become president,” she said to huge applause and delegates leaping to their feet.
“That’s why we’ve got to work together to get the vote out this fall,” she said, announcing a nationwide drive to get three million people registered to vote in the November 8 general election.
It is customary for presidential candidates to address the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Trump was invited to speak at the Cincinnati event, but he declined to do so.
The Trump campaign gave no reason for snubbing the event, just 250 miles (400 kilometers) away in the same state.
Ohio is a key battleground state and Trump lost the Republican state primary to Governor John Kasich, but a recent NBC News poll put Clinton and Trump tied at 39 percent with 21 percent of voters undecided.
The former US secretary of state used much of her speech to call for criminal justice reform, an end to systemic racism and to denounce the killing of police officers as totally unjustified.
“This madness has to stop,” she said in reference to the attack Sunday that killed three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“The next president should make the commitment to fight for the reforms we so desperately need, holding police departments like Ferguson accountable,” she said to deafening applause.
The 2014 shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, unleashed widespread protests, some violent, and was among a spate of controversial police shootings of African Americans. The decision not to indict the police officer prompted more protests across the country.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is America’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, campaigning to end racial discrimination.