- Hillary Clinton became the first woman in history to lead the Democratic Party
- Clinton attacked Trump for insulting women and Muslims
- Clinton also won in New Mexico and South Dakota and marginally led in Montana
Hillary Clinton declared herself the Democratic Party nominee for the United States president on Tuesday, embracing her role in history as the first woman to lead a major party in a race for the White House.
The former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state celebrated her victory in the nominating race over rival Bernie Sanders at a raucous event with supporters in Brooklyn, New York, where Clinton placed her achievement in the context of the long history of the women’s rights movement.
“Thanks to you, we have reached a milestone,” Clinton said in a speech. “We all owe so much to who came before.”
Clinton, 68, spoke shortly after beating Sanders in New Jersey’s nominating contest, expanding her lead in the delegates needed to clinch the nomination and setting up a five-month general election campaign against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in the Nov. 8 election.
New Jersey was one of six states holding contests on Tuesday June 7, including California, the big prize where Clinton was still at risk of an embarrassing loss to Sanders as she heads into the campaign against Trump.
Polls in California closed at 11 p.m. EDT, but news networks said the race was too close to call.
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In her speech, Clinton appealed to Sanders supporters to join her and said the Democratic Party had been bolstered by his campaign for eradicating income inequality, which has commanded huge crowds and galvanized younger voters.
Clinton edged Sanders out, especially among older voters, with a more pragmatic campaign focused on building on the policies of her fellow Democrat, President Barack Obama.
Although Sanders will be unable to catch Hilary Clinton even if he wins the primary in California, America’s most populous state, a triumph there could fuel his continued presence in the race and underscore Clinton’s weaknesses as she battles Trump.
The White House issued a statement saying Obama had called both Clinton and Sanders on Tuesday. It said he congratulated her on securing the delegates necessary to clinch the nomination and would meet Sanders on Thursday at Sanders’ request.
TRUMP ‘TEMPERAMENTALLY UNFIT’
Clinton harshly attacked Trump for using divisive rhetoric that belittled women, Muslims and immigrants, and took specific aim at his recent condemnation of an Indiana-born judge of Mexican heritage.
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“The stakes in this election are high and the choice is clear. Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to be president and commander-in-chief,” she said.
“When Donald Trump says a distinguished judge born in Indiana can’t do his job because of his Mexican heritage, or he mocks a reporter with disabilities, or calls women pigs, it goes against everything we stand for,” she said.
Clinton also won in New Mexico and South Dakota and marginally led in Montana, while Sanders, 74, was projected to win in North Dakota on the final night of big presidential nominating battles that began on Feb. 1 in Iowa. The District of Columbia, the last to vote, holds a Democratic primary next Tuesday June 14.
-prepared by Saurabh Bodas (with inputs from Reuters), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @saurabhbodas96
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