Donald Trump has hit back at Hillary Clinton by saying the Democratic nominee needs to 'address racist undertones' of her unsuccessful 2008 campaign, and accused her of calling a white supremacist a 'mentor'.
The Donald went on the attack against his presidential opponent on Twitter at 10:40pm on Thursday, firing off five tweets in about 15 minutes.
In the social media sledges, Trump accused Clinton of having racial elements to her 2008 campaign against Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination, before accusing her of 'sabotaging the inner cities', and praising a former Ku Klux Klan member.
'Hillary Clinton only knows how to make a speech when it is a hit on me. No policy, and always very short (stamina). Media gives her a pass!' he tweeted to kick off the rant.
Trump then shared an article about Clinton publicly supporting the late Klan leader Sen. Robert Byrd, and calling him a 'mentor' after he died in 2010.
Byrd joined the KKK when he was young in the early 1940s, before he went on to become to be elected in West Virginia.
However, his views on race changed drastically over time, and before he died Byrd said he regretted voting against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and described his one-time support of the KKK as 'the greatest mistake' of his life.
The video showed a compilation of different sound-bytes from Clinton's unsuccessful campaign that claimed she campaigned on racial issues against then-Senator Obama.
Trump's tweets came after Clinton attacked the Republican nominee for the 'steady stream of bigotry' coming from his campaign on the heels of releasing an online ad showing a slew of Ku Klux Klan members and white nationalists supporting the Republican hopeful.
'He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party,' she charged from a campaign stop this afternoon in Reno, Nevada.
Speaking for 30 minutes, Clinton laced her speech with words like 'prejudice,' 'paranoia,' the 'radical fringe,' and the 'alt-right,' the latest iteration of white supremacy, Clinton said.
Clinton started her Reno speech by claiming it was voters who compelled it, approaching the Democratic nominee on the campaign trail to voice their worries.
'Everywhere I got people tell me how concerned they are by the divisive rhetoric coming from my opponent in this election,' she said, adding that it's 'like nothing we've ever heard before' from a major party candidate running for president of the United States.
Clinton claimed that Trump was running a campaign filled with 'prejudice and paranoia' and his recent outreach to African-Americans was 'insulting' and 'ignorant' as he suggested that many feared for their lives daily from inner-city crime.
Clinton called what Trump was doing 'sinister,' suggesting this outreach was nothing more than reinforcing impressions of the black community held by his mostly white audiences.
'Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters,' Clinton said.
Clinton mocked Trump's love for conspiracy theories, reminding her audience of his 'birther' background, as Trump had been on the forefront of pushing the fiction that President Barack Obama was born outside the United States.
'His latest paranoid fever dream is about my health,' she said, noting how Trump and his surrogates had recently tried to push the idea that the 68-year-old Clinton was unwell, with Rudy Giuliani even pointing to online videos that suggested the Democrat was suffering a seizure.
Clinton rehashed many of the controversies of yore – the time Trump said a Mexican-American judge would be biased against his Trump University case; the Star of David anti-Clinton image Trump retweeted, that was viewed as both anti-semitic and sourced from a 'fringe bigot's' Twitter account, Clinton said.
'Just recently Trump claimed that President Obama founded ISIS. He has repeated that over and over again,' Clinton said.
She reminded the audience how Trump had once tried to link Sen. Ted Cruz's Cuban immigrant father to the President John F. Kennedy assassination, suggesting that it was the Cuban immigrant part of Rafael Cruz's background that would make Trump say such a thing.
She also heralded Republicans including former President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain for pushing back when Americans showed their prejudice.
'This is what I want to make clear today: A man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far reaches of the internet, should never run our government or command our military,' Clinton proclaimed.
The Trump campaign hit back suggesting that Clinton was trying to sweep her own political issues under the rug by devoting the entire speech to attacking Trump.
'Donald Trump is talking about issues; Hillary Clinton is talking about Donald Trump,' Kellyanne Conway, Trump's new campaign manager, responded.
'Today, as she took a break from her Hillary-in-Hiding Tour, she missed another opportunity to talk about education, infrastructure, terrorism, healthcare, the economy and energy,' Conway added, alluding to the fact that Clinton has spent most of her week not campaigning, but on a glitzy west coast fundraising tour.
Teeing up her Reno speech, Clinton had tweeted out a new online ad, prominently featuring KKK members, which was met with a furious response from the Trump campaign.
'I call on Hillary Clinton to disavow this video and her campaign for this sickening act that has no place in our world,' Burns added.
It goes on to quote a self-identified 'white nationalist' and former KKK grand wizard David Duke, both of whom are also supporting Trump.
'The names may have changed… Racists now call themselves "racialists." White supremacists now call themselves "white nationalists." The paranoid fringe now calls itself "alt-right,"' she said.
'Mr. Trump has never used or condoned that term and continues to disavow any groups or individuals associated with a message of hate,' said campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks in a statement.
But while Trump's campaign reorganization last week may have put the GOP nominee on more solid footing, it opened him up to this type of criticism because Breitbart News Network, where Bannon, Trump's new CEO was borrowed from, has been linked to this new strain of conservatism.
The Clinton campaign pointed to an assessment made by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups within the United States.
Clinton took on Breitbart in Reno by simply reading some of the news site's headlines to the crowd.
'To give you a flavor of his work, here are a few headlines they’ve published,' she said of Bannon, before she began.
'Just imagine – Donald Trump reading that and thinking: "this is what I need more of in my campaign,"' she said.
'Trump likes to say he only hires the "best people," but he’s had to fire so many campaign managers it’s like an episode of the Apprentice,' she cracked.
Besides name-dropping Bannon, Clinton ticked off the right's other characters that Trump has become associated with too.
She pointed to outgoing UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage's appearance with Trump at a campaign stop last night. She spoke of his appearances on the radio with host Alex Jones, who she described a 9/11 and Oklahoma City bombing truther who has made similar statements about Sandy Hook.
'He ever said, and this is really so disgusting, he even said that the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre were child actors. And no one actually died,' Clinton said.
'I don't know what happens in somebody's mind or how dark their heart must be to say things like that, but Trump doesn't challenge these lies,' she said.
Her takeaway to the crowd was that Trump – even with new leadership and a more moderated strategy – is the same old Trump.
'But look at his policies,' she said. 'The ones that he's proposed,' she said, noting his plans to deport millions of illegal immigrants or ban non-American Muslims into the United States.