Hillary Clinton’s campaign will position her Wednesday night as prepared to be the nation’s commander-in-chief, contrasting her with what it’s calling a “temperamentally unfit” Donald Trump.
The focus on national security comes as Republicans have criticized the Democrats for treading light on terrorism threats and national security in the four-day convention that opened Monday. Speakers on Wednesday will include former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and veterans who will contrast Clinton’s experience and qualifications with Trump’s “unsteady, unfit and dangerous approach,” Clinton campaign manager John Podesta said.
The convention will also focus on Clinton’s push for stricter gun control, featuring family members of those shot in the Orlando nightclub massacre, along with the daughter of the principal at Sandy Hook elementary school. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, an independent who once considered his own bid for the presidency, will also speak.
Jake Sullivan, Hillary Clinton's senior policy advisor, said former defense officials, including a former admiral who was once a Republican, will talk about “what it takes to be commander in chief, and why Hillary Clinton has what it takes.”
He pushed back on Republican criticism that the campaign has played down national security and the threat posed by the Islamic State: “It was an issue last night, it will be an issue tonight and it will be issue Thursday night when Secretary Clinton demonstrates conclusively why she, and not Donald Trump, is the one capable of defeating of ISIS.”
Sullivan said they’ll also outline why Trump “is simply temperamentally unfit and unqualified to be commander in chief.” Sullivan singled out what he said was Trump’s “strange” policy ideas, including encouraging countries such as North Korea and Japan to secure nuclear weapons, along with his questioning of commitments to U.S. allies.
Sullivan said the campaign will also highlight what he called Trump’s “bizarre and occasional obsequious fascination with dictators and strongmen,” including Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Clinton has been briefed about reports that intelligence officials believe Russia was behind the leak of DNC emails and is “alarmed by the prospect and proposition that Russia is interfering in an American election,” Sullivan said.
He said Clinton views the leak as a “national security issue,” not a political one, and part of a pattern of Russia interfering in other country’s domestic affairs.
Also speaking: vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, vice president Joe Biden and Clinton’s onetime rival and boss President Barack Obama.
Podesta says the campaign will use Obama on the trail “as much as we can get him.”
He also sought to mop up remarks from Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe who suggested Tuesday that Clinton would support a controversial trade package, TPP, after the election.
“She is against it before the election and after the election,” Podesta said. “She is not interested in renegotiating the TPP.”
McAuliffe, a longtime friend of the Clintons, told Politico on Tuesday that he believes Clinton would support the TPP trade deal if elected president, with some tweaks.