Campaigning in the Seattle area, Hillary Clinton responded to the Brussels attack, saying fear-mongering by candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz will make the U.S. less safe.

Share story

In a Seattle campaign rally Tuesday night, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lobbed biting criticism at Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s response to the Brussels terrorist attacks, arguing a fear-mongering approach will make the country less safe.

Speaking at Rainier Beach High School just after her win in the Arizona Democratic primary was announced, Clinton looked to the November election, saying it will pit “fundamentally different views” of America and its values.

Hillary Clinton supporters lined up outside of Rainier Beach High School before she made an appearance Tuesday night as a part of her presidential campaign. (Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

“The last thing we need, my friends, is leaders who incite more fear,” Clinton said, assailing Republican talk of building walls and closing U.S. borders. “What Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and others are saying is not only wrong, it is dangerous.”

The remarks came during a campaign swing through Washington before Saturday’s Democratic caucuses.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

In an earlier rally in Everett, Clinton took aim at the labor vote and jabbed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, her rival for the Democratic nomination, for opposing loan guarantees that help Boeing and other exporters.

The Brussels attacks, in which terrorist suicide bombers killed dozens, led Trump and Cruz on Tuesday to call for more surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods. Trump also suggested torturing captive terrorists could allow authorities to halt future attacks.

In an interview on Fox News, Trump reiterated his call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country, arguing Muslim immigrants would launch attacks on American soil next.

In Seattle, Clinton forcefully disagreed.

“It will not keep us safe,” she said. “This is a time for America to lead, not cower.”

She vowed to “take the fight” to the Islamic State group, while embracing Muslims who also want to defeat extremists.

Sanders, who drew huge crowds to rallies over the weekend, plans to return to Seattle on Friday, announcing late Tuesday his plans for a rally at Safeco Field. He also plans a Thursday rally in Yakima.

On Tuesday, thousands lined up in Seattle streets to try to see Clinton’s speech, with many unable to get into the high school gymnasium.

Lotus Zheng, 44, a meditation instructor from Seattle’s Broadview neighborhood, was second in line Tuesday after showing up at 10 a.m.

The hard-core Clinton supporter said she met the candidate two years ago at a book signing. “She’s experienced. She’s smart and she’s a passionate fighter,” Zheng said, also praising the former secretary of state as “tough.”

In the rally earlier at the International Association of Machinists union hall in Everett, Clinton drew big cheers from a crowd of a couple of hundred union members and others. She noted she’d been named an honorary Machinist years ago for her pro-labor record.

“I am no person new to this struggle. I am not the latest flavor of the month,” Clinton said, promising to “have the toughest enforcement” of labor laws and to use “the bully pulpit” to defend workers’ rights to organize.

Zeroing in on a topic with local job implications before Saturday’s Democratic caucuses, Clinton said she’s been a proud backer of the Export-Import Bank, which guarantees low-interest loans to boost U.S. exporters, including many in this state.

She said it’s a tool to maintain good-paying U.S. jobs, noting it benefits apple growers and local beer brewers, in addition to companies like Boeing.

“When the Republicans, led by the tea party, when my opponent, Senator Sanders, joined arms against the Export-Import Bank, I just shook my head,” she said.

She portrayed opposition to the bank as unrealistic, given the subsidies foreign governments offer to their companies.

“You know, we are not living in a world where we are alone. Sometimes I wish we were, but we’re not,” Clinton said. “So we’ve got to deal with the competitors that are out there, and I want us to compete and win.”

Clinton was backed by U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, who echoed her criticism of Sanders. Murray said she was disappointed that Sanders “with the tea-party Republicans voted against Washington state workers.”

Ex-Im has financed $144 billion in exports from Washington since 2007, from 238 exporters including 162 small businesses.

Sanders has not backed away from his longstanding opposition to the bank, which he has derided as corporate welfare and called “the bank of Boeing” in a recent Democratic debate.

Larry Cohen, a Sanders adviser on labor and trade, said the Vermont senator has long pushed for reforms to make Ex-Im benefit U.S. firms and workers instead of foreign corporations.

As it stands, Ex-Im loan-guarantees to foreign airlines buying Boeing jets like Emirates, which is owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates, put U.S. airlines at a disadvantage, Cohen said.

“Every U.S. global carrier opposes those subsidies, and so do the unions of the workers at those carriers,” he said.

In Everett, Clinton also spoke of the Brussels attacks, saying she would move to cut off the Islamic State group from the flow of arms. She said the U.S. also must work to “defeat them online,” citing websites where radicals spread propaganda and lure new recruits.

Clinton said U.S. Muslims must be embraced in counterterrorism efforts and encouraged to call the FBI or police “to say something is going on” instead of being “isolated and insulted.”

Tuesday’s rallies were part of a Clinton campaign swing through Washington before Saturday’s caucuses, which will determine which candidate receives the support of most of the state’s 118 delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

After the noon Machinists event, Clinton met with about two dozen tribal leaders in the library of the Chief Leschi School in Puyallup.

Bill Sterud, chairman of the Puyallup Tribal Council, praised former President Clinton as the “greatest president ever,” noting tribes had been invited to march in Clinton’s 1993 inaugural. Gesturing to Hillary Clinton, he said, “She was right next to him.”

Clinton told the tribal leaders they could march in her inaugural parade if she wins, too. “I think it’s fair to say you have an invitation,” she said.

Media members were barred from watching the entire meeting.

Clinton also attended a private fundraiser at the Medina home of Costco co-founder Jeff Brotman.

Waiting in line outside the Machinists hall earlier Tuesday, David Black, who’s worked for Boeing for 39 years, said he backed Clinton because of her experience. “She knows how to be president immediately,” he said.

He added that Clinton’s support of the Ex-Im Bank — compared with Sanders’ opposition — “is a definite issue for me.”

Not everyone lining up in Everett was a Clinton supporter. David Calder, who retired from the Kimberly-Clark paper mill, said he backs Sanders — partly over his criticisms of free-trade deals. The mill shut down in 2012, and whatever jobs were left were “shipped to China,” he said.

Calder added he could not vote in November for Clinton or Republican Donald Trump. If it comes to that, he said, he’ll support Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate.