Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gives an address on national security, in San Diego, California, June 2, 2016.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gives an address on national security, in San Diego, California, June 2, 2016.

WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton called Republican rival Donald Trump dangerous and unqualified for the presidency in a blistering foreign policy speech Thursday in San Diego, California.

"He is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility," Clinton said. "This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes."

Trump “doesn’t understand America, or the world,” she said. "It’s not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin."

In anticipation of the address, Trump attacked his Democratic opponent on Twitter. “Crooked Hillary Clinton, who I would love to call Lyin’ Hillary, is getting ready to totally misrepresent my foreign policy positions,” he tweeted.

Watch video report from VOA's Zlatica Hoke:


Clinton emphasized her own experience as first lady, senator and secretary of state, saying she would provide the steady diplomacy the country needs.

“National security is the foundation of how we make sure our interests are pursued in the world,” said Louis Goodman, Emeritus Dean of International Relations at American University in an interview with VOA.

With polls show terrorism is a major concern among Americans, Clinton targeted Trump's positions on the issue.

Trump anti-terrorism proposals

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has promised to temporarily block Muslims from crossing U.S. borders.

"The struggle against radical Islam also takes place in our homeland. There are scores of recent migrants inside our borders charged with terrorism. For every case known to the public, there are dozens more. We must stop importing extremism through senseless immigration policies," Trump said in a foreign policy speech in April.

Trump's other anti-terrorism proposals include a pledge to torture and murder the families of suspected terrorists and target Islamic State.

A woman holds up a sign for Democratic presidentia
A woman holds up a sign for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she is escorted out during a rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, in San Jose, Calif., June 2, 2016.

"I have a simple message for them," Trump said. "Their days are numbered. I won't tell them where and I won't tell them how. But they will be gone. And soon."

But Clinton said Trump's presidency would have the opposite effect.

“A Trump presidency would embolden ISIS,” she said referring to the group also known as Islamic State.

The two presidential candidates have presented very different approaches to terrorism, which experts like Goodman believe would likely produce different results.

“While Donald Trump is making statements that push people away from us and make it difficult for our allies to cooperate with us, Hillary Clinton is consistently reaching out to our allies and trying to get them to cooperate so we can work together … and stop this criminal behavior that’s called terrorism," he said. "And I fear that a practice or policies like those Trump is articulating will increase terrorism.”

NATO, Russia, North Korea

Clinton listed Trump statements on everything from the NATO alliance to threats from Russia and North Korea – and played Trump’s assertions about climate change for laughs.

“If Donald gets his way, they’ll be celebrating in the Kremlin,” she said. “We cannot let that happen.”

Clinton also openly mocked Trump’s Twitter habit.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with supporters at a rally, in El Centro, Calif., June 2, 2016.

“We all know the tools Donald Trump brings to the table: bragging, mocking, composing nasty tweets,” she said. “I’m willing to bet he’s writing a few right now.”

As if on cue, Trump did just that. “Bad performance by Crooked Hillary Clinton! Reading poorly from the teleprompter! She doesn’t even look presidential!”

California primary

Clinton's speech comes five days before California holds its Democratic primary, which is expected to give her the delegates she needs to capture her party's presidential nomination even though several polls show the race getting tighter in California.

Democratic rival Bernie Sanders has been campaigning vigorously there.

The address will not likely affect voters' opinions, as the minds of most are already made up.

"I highly doubt a foreign policy speech will sway a large portion of the public," Pennsylvania State University Political Scientist Mark Major told VOA.

For Clinton, "the best outcome is that it may shift the news media narrative for a few days away from her emails and untrustworthiness," Major added.