WASHINGTON (JTA) — President-elect Donald Trump condemned bigotry while speaking at a victory rally.
“We condemn bigotry and prejudice in all its forms,” Trump said Thursday in Cincinnati in a rare address since defeating Hillary Clinton several weeks ago. “We denounce all of the hatred and we forcefully reject the language of exclusion and separation. We have no choice. We have to, and it’s better.”
During his campaign, the Republican candidate came under fire first from his party rivals in the primaries and then from Clinton, his Democratic rival, for his broadsides against Muslims and Mexicans, his perceived insensitivity to blacks and the disabled, and the disparaging terms he used to describe women. He also used imagery and themes that originated among anti-Semites.
Trump responded by saying his critics were deliberately misconstruing his remarks. However, on election night, after it was clear he won the presidency, the real estate magnate and reality TV star called for an end to rancor and more unity.
The speech in Cincinnati was otherwise typical of his campaign rallies, with jabs at his critics and triumphant extemporizing.
“The bottom line is, we won!” Trump said in a speech in which he mostly mocked the incorrect predictions of his naysayers.
The president-elect reiterated pledges not to “topple regimes,” reflecting the 180-degree turn his victory represents in Republican foreign policy, which was characterized in the early 2000s by the invasions of Afghanistan and of Iraq launched by President George W. Bush in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.
Trump said he would be seeking stringent controls on immigration from the Middle East.
“We will do everything in our power to keep the scourge of terrorism out of our country,” he said. “People are pouring in from regions of the Middle East. We have no idea who they are, where they come from, what they’re thinking. And we’re going to stop that dead, cold, flat. People coming into the country have to have the potential to love us, not to hate us.”