Hillary Clinton Implies Racism Behind GOP Efforts to Stop Obama SCOTUS Nomination

"The president has the right to nominate under the Constitution," Clinton said.

ByABC News
February 16, 2016, 6:13 PM

— -- Hillary Clinton stepped up her attacks today against Republicans vowing to block whomever President Obama nominates to the Supreme Court, accusing them of racism and bigotry.

“The Republicans say they’ll reject anyone President Obama nominates no matter how qualified. Some are even saying he doesn't have the right to nominate anyone, as if somehow he's not the real president,” Clinton said during remarks at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, referring to the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

“You know that's in keeping what we heard all along, isn't it?" she continued. "Many Republicans talk in coded racial language about takers and losers. They demonize President Obama and encourage the ugliest impulses of the paranoid fringe,” she continued. “This kind of hatred and bigotry has no place in our politics or our country.

"The president has the right to nominate under the Constitution,” she added to cheers.

Immediately following the death of Scalia on Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he believed the vacancy should not be filled until after the election, and many other Republicans in Washington and on the campaign trail have echoed the thought.

In the days since, both Clinton and her Democratic presidential opponent Bernie Sanders have blasted Republicans for these remarks.

Clinton continued with that criticism during her speech today in which she addressed systemic racism and proposed a $2 billion plan to reform public schools in low-income areas and end the so-called “school-to-prison pipeline.” When she came on stage, she was joined by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, his partner Sandra Lee, Rep. Charlie Rangel, N.Y.C. Mayor Bill de Blasio, his wife Chirlane, and former Attorney General Eric Holder.

During the speech she also took veiled swipes at Sanders, who, like Clinton, has been making a last-minute pitch to African-American voters ahead of the South Carolina primary.

“You can’t just show up in election time and say the right things and think that’s enough,” Clinton said to applause. “We can’t start building relationships a few weeks before a vote, we have to demonstrate a sustained commitment to building opportunity, creating prosperity and righting wrongs.”

Midway through the speech, Clinton had to take a brief pause as she was overcome by a coughing fit.

The crowd gave her a boost of encouragement as she took a sip of water and opened up a throat lozenge.

“Hillary! Hillary!” they cheered.

“I have too much to say,” Clinton joked.