Hillary Clinton‘s predicament was on full display in a campaign rally in California as she tried to fend off not one but two opponents.
With the Democratic nomination in her grasp, she is heading toward a general election showdown with the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump.
Yet Democratic rival Bernie Sanders is still pressing for victories in upcoming primaries, including California, and Mrs. Clinton can’t afford to ignore him. A defeat in the Golden State on June 7 would be an embarrassment she’d like to avoid.
During a 20-minute speech here, she took aim at her rivals.
She criticized Mr. Sanders’s plans for free tuition for students attending public colleges and universities, giving an answer that managed to take swipes at Mr. Trump as well.
“My esteemed opponent, Sen. Sanders, has a plan for what he calls free college,” Mrs. Clinton said. “My late father said any time someone tells you it’s free, read the fine print. And if you read the fine print, it’s free for everybody, even billionaires. Now, personally, I don’t want to be paying for Donald Trump to send his kids and grandkids to college.”
Mrs. Clinton saved her harshest attacks for the celebrity businessman. In a play on Mr. Trump’s new status, she called him the “presumptuous” nominee.
She said even if she weren’t running for president, she would work to make sure Mr. Trump “never gets near the White House.”
And, in a state whose Hispanic population is about 38%, Mrs. Clinton zeroed in on Mr. Trump’s call for deporting undocumented immigrants.
“He’s talking about a ‘deportation force,’” Mrs. Clinton said. “Can you imagine the police and military action inside our borders — knocking on doors, hauling people out of their beds and workplaces?”
Mr. Trump’s plan “needs to be repudiated,” she said.
“Basta!” she said, using the Spanish word for “Enough.”
Her comments were greeted with applause from the audience. At one point, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) stood on the stage and led the crowd in cheers.
In a tweet, he wrote: “Crooked Hillary Clinton wants completely open borders. Millions of Democrats will run from her over this and support me.”