Clinton: Americans must reject Trump
© Getty Images

Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonPeggy Noonan: ‘Weak and sniveling’ Trump is not as strong as his wife Sessions says he doesn't regret recusing himself from Russia probe Judiciary Committee Republicans want a second special counsel: report MORE on Tuesday condemned GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpPeggy Noonan: ‘Weak and sniveling’ Trump is not as strong as his wife Could Trump self-pardon? the world may never know Ex-Cruz aide: Trump presidency 'is effectively over' MORE’s “dangerous” rhetoric about Muslims and urged that his candidacy be “rejected roundly” by the American people.

Speaking with Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Hardball” in her first nationally televised interview of 2016, the Democratic hopeful repeatedly declined to mention Trump by name or address the personal attacks against her and her husband, former President Bill ClintonBill ClintonEx-Cruz aide: Trump presidency 'is effectively over' OPINION | Gen. Hayden: How the Russians played the Trumps Starr tells Trump to 'cut it out' with the attacks on Sessions MORE.

But Clinton took several indirect swipes at Trump, who has ignited controversy for derogatory comments about illegal immigrants, for mocking a reporter with disabilities, for sexist remarks about women and for proposing a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

ADVERTISEMENT
“We should not reward people who use inflammatory rhetoric, who use the kind of derogatory comments, whether it's about Muslims, or Mexicans, or women, or people with disabilities, whoever it might be,” Clinton said. “That is not a sign of leadership. That's a sign of, you know, showmanship, of desperation, that should be rejected roundly by the American people.”

Clinton has taken particular offense to Trump’s Muslim ban. She said at the last Democratic debate that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is using Trump’s rhetoric to recruit new terrorists.

On Tuesday, Clinton reiterated that Americans will need to work with Muslims to take on ISIS and argued that Trump’s rhetoric on the issue is unhelpful in that regard.

“I believe ISIS cannot be contained, it has to be defeated,” Clinton said. “But in order to do that, we need to work within our own country, with Muslim Americans, so that what I'm hearing from the other side is not only offensive and shameful, it's dangerous, counter-productive.”

Clinton has said that her New Year’s resolution is to steer clear of commenting on Trump. In the MSNBC interview, she stuck to that claim when Matthews pressed her on Trump’s personal attacks against her and Bill Clinton, who, this week, began taking on a more visible role on the campaign trail.

Trump has blasted Bill Clinton for his past infidelities and has alleged that Hillary Clinton can’t play the “woman’s card” against him because she was complicit in bullying Bill Clinton’s accusers into silence.

Those attacks came after Clinton accused Trump of having a “penchant for sexism,” a line of attack that she avoided on Tuesday.

“He can say whatever he wants to say,” Clinton said. “I'm going to keep talking about what people talk to me about, and what they talk to me about is what are we going to do about prescription drug pricing.”

“These are real things that people talk to me about, and I'm going to be a president who does the big stuff that gets in the headlines that, you know, you and other analysts and reporters talk about,” she continued. “And I'm going to do the stuff that keeps people awake at night.  Like, you know, making sure they can afford their prescription drugs.”

Clinton also declined to weigh in on what she believes is the difference between a socialist and a Democrat. Clinton’s primary rival for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersLive Coverage: Senate votes down 'skinny' ObamaCare repeal Sanders: Senate healthcare fight 'totally bananas' Overnight Defense: Military won't lift transgender ban until Trump sends directions | House passes national security spending | Russian sanctions bill heads to Trump MORE, has long identified as a democratic socialist.

“I can tell you what I am,” Clinton responded. “I am a progressive Democrat.”
 
“I'm a progressive Democrat who likes to get things done and who believes ... that we are better off in this country when we're trying to solve problems together,” she added.