Capitol Alert

Hillary Clinton accuses Donald Trump of rooting for housing crisis

Hillary Clinton, increasingly turning her focus to a general election contest with Republican Donald Trump, on Tuesday accused the New York businessman of rooting for the 2008 housing market collapse so that he could profit from it.

“He actually said he was hoping for the crash that caused hardworking families in California and across America to lose their homes,” said Clinton, flanked by laborers at a union hall in Los Angeles County. “All because he thought he could take advantage of it and make some money for himself.”

Clinton’s remarks followed her campaign’s release of a video on Tuesday featuring an audio clip of Trump, in 2006, saying he “sort of” hoped for a housing bubble burst because “people like me would go in and buy.”

“If there is a bubble burst, as they call it, you know, you can make a lot of money,” Trump said at the time.

Clinton is amplifying her criticism of Trump on the economy at a time when the presumptive Republican nominee has pulled about even with her in national polls. Clinton, who is all but certain to become the Democratic nominee, paid her primary rival, Bernie Sanders, no attention while campaigning here.

Instead, Clinton repeated criticism of Trump’s business bankruptcies and a tax plan she said would only benefit the wealthy. When she recalled Trump’s old statements about the housing market, a man in the audience yelled, “Sick!”

A Trump spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Clinton’s appearance, following two fundraisers in the Los Angeles area Monday night, touched off three days of public appearances in the state ahead of the June 7 primary. Clinton has raised more than $33 million from the state through April.

While Clinton was returning to California, Sanders was in the midst of spate of rallies in the state. Trump plans to rally supporters in Orange County on Wednesday.

Clinton on Monday declined an invitation to debate Sanders in California, with a spokeswoman, Jennifer Palmieri, saying in an email that the campaign will “compete hard” in California “while turning our attention to the threat a Donald Trump presidency poses.”

“We believe that Hillary Clinton’s time is best spent campaigning and meeting directly with voters across California and preparing for a general election campaign that will ensure the White House remains in Democratic hands,” she said.

Sanders, rallying supporters in East Los Angeles and Santa Monica on Monday, called Clinton’s refusal to debate him again “insulting” to the people of California.

But with his chances of defeating Clinton becoming increasingly unlikely, Sanders appears to be shifting focus, too. While insisting he still can win the nomination, Sanders is also hoping to carry a more progressive message to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

The Sanders campaign released a TV ad on Tuesday asking Californians to “send a message” to Washington.

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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