U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders may be staying in the race for the long haul, but former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton showed Friday in Oakland that she’s leaving the rancorous primary behind and turning her attention to the general election — with Bay Area Democrats helping her lead the charge.
Clinton seldom mentioned Sanders during her speech at a gym in La Escuelita Elementary School on East 10th Street, instead lambasting Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee following his landslide win in Indiana, on his treatment of women and what she said were vague positions on healthcare.
“He doesn’t think much of women, as it turns out,” she said with a smirk, prompting loud applause from about 150 supporters, a few of whom carried “East Bay Loves Hillary” signs. Clinton then jibed the real estate mogul’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” saying that if someone asked Trump what he wanted to replace Obamacare with, he wouldn’t know other than “something great.”
A slew of Bay Area Democratic politicians also took a swing at Trump’s record. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff, who laid out the welcome mat at Clinton’s Oakland campaign office last week, took the stage before the Democratic frontrunner and focused considerable ire on Trump. Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King joined her, pumping up the crowd by leading raucous “Hillary” chants.
“America cannot afford to be the star of a bad reality show,” Schaaf said, referencing Trump’s show The Apprentice. She added that Clinton was the “only one” with the “grit” and “experience” to lead the country, and urged Oaklanders to turn out to the polls and vote.
“I know that Oakland is going to turn out for Hillary Clinton,” she said. “This is a city that has heart and soul, that has a passion for justice and that believes in putting great leaders into the presidency.”
Retiring Senator Barbara Boxer, who is slated to appear at a private fundraiser for Clinton Friday evening in San Francisco, was also on hand, telling the crowd that she and Clinton “grew up together” in the political sphere and that Clinton was the only one to stop Trump.
California State Assembly members Rob Bonta, who represents the 18th district, and Tony Thurmond, who represents the 15th district, also advocated on Clinton’s behalf.
Bonta, a staunch supporter of gun control, rebuked Trump and other Republican positions on gun control and immigration.
“We need someone who knows that all communities must be and should be safe, and will take on the gun manufacturers and the National Rifle Association,” he said. “And finally we need someone who embraces all of our communities, especially our immigrant communities, and won’t build walls but will tear them down,” he said, signaling wave of applause.
But not all were pleased with Clinton’s Bay Area presence. Outside the event, Sanders supports carried signs saying “#GetOffMyBlock.” Many of them noted how much smaller Clinton's event was compared to those held by the Vermont Senator, which often draw thousands of people.
Susanne Sarley, a Sanders supporter whose daughter goes to neighboring Met West High School, said she thought Clinton’s presence “disrupted learning” and was “inappropriate.”
“My daughter and her friends were very intimidated by the snipers and the secret service on sight today,” she said. “…It is not appropriate for them to bring this high military level situation to their school site.”
Sarley said she would be writing to the superintendent about the ruckus caused by Clinton’s secret service detail and would be voting for Sanders in the June 7 primary.