On 'The View': Meghan McCain hits back at Trump's criticism of Sen. John McCain, says Trump ‘spends his weekend obsessing over great men

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Meghan McCain, on "The View", defended her father, the late Sen. John McCain, against disparaging comments from President Donald Trump.

Over the weekend Trump reiterated jabs he's made at the senator over the years, calling McCain "last in his class," in a post on Twitter.

On 'The View' Monday, Meghan McCain said Trump "spends his weekend obsessing over great men" because "he will never be a great man."

"My father was his kryptonite," McCain said.

Over the weekend she addressed Trump in a post on Twitter, saying, "No one will ever love you the way they loved my father."

The senator died in August of 2018 after a battle with brain cancer.

In his post, Trump accused Sen. McCain of sharing the Steele dossier with the media and the FBI before the 2016 election. In 2018 ABC News reported that McCain delivered a copy of Steele's dossier to the FBI in December 2016, after the election.

In February, Trump reportedly ridiculed the late senator's 2018 book, "The Restless Wave." At the time, Meghan McCain tweeted "the president's obsession with my father 6 months after his death is pathetic and telling."

Trump's is a longtime critic of Sen. McCain, often focusing on the decorated veteran's military service and the time he spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

In a 1999 interview with Dan Rather, Trump said, "He was captured. Does being captured make you a hero? I don’t know. I’m not sure."

During the Vietnam War, McCain's plane was shot down, leading to five years as a prisoner of war, with lifelong physical consequences for McCain.

Trump has also disparaged McCain's decision to vote against the Republican proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare in a dramatic showdown.

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Beto O'Rourke sets high-water mark for Dems with $6.1M in first day of campaign

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke raised $6.1 million in the first 24 hours after announcing his presidential campaign, the most so far by any 2020 Democratic hopeful.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., last month raised $5.9 million in the first day following his announcement.

"Americans across this country came together to prove that it is possible to run a true grassroots campaign for president -- a campaign by all of us, for all of us, that answers not to the PACs, corporations and special interests but to the people," O'Rourke said in a statement released by his campaign Monday morning.

O'Rourke's first-day sum far outpaces other Democratic hopefuls seeking to unseat President Donald Trump.

California Sen. Kamala Harris raised $1.5 million during her first 24 hours as a candidate, while Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper each hit the $1 million mark roughly 48 hours after announcing.

The contributions to O'Rourke also are a tangible example of the legitimacy of a presidential campaign that a year ago would have been considered impractical, if not impossible. The former congressman raised nearly $80 million last year attempting to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in the most competitive Senate race run by a Democrat in Texas.

O'Rourke was mum on initial fundraising numbers during a three-day campaign swing that began last week. When pressed by reporters outside an event in the city of Washington, Iowa, he said he was choosing not to release the numbers, refusing to elaborate.

"I could. Let me answer the question better: I choose not to," said O'Rourke, when he was reminded nothing precluded him from doing so.

O'Rourke's aggressive initial campaign continues on Monday, starting with a stop just north of Detroit, followed by an afternoon stop in Cleveland. He's then scheduled to travel to Pennsylvania, continuing on to New Hampshire later in the week.

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Jared and Ivanka are 'almost worse than enablers,' author Vicky Ward details in 'Kushner, Inc.' book

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The author of a new book critical of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump's government service said Sunday on "This Week" that the couple went into government service for all the wrong reasons.

"Kushner, Inc." portrays the couple -- dubbed "Javanka" by author Vicky Ward -- as forcing their will upon White House staffers and lashing out at enemies real and perceived when rebuked.

ABC News obtained an excerpt of the book last week ahead of its expected Tuesday release.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders denounced the book last week in a statement, calling it "fiction."

"It's sad, but not surprising, the media would spend time promoting a book based on shady anonymous sources and false information instead of all the incredible work Jared and Ivanka are doing for the country," Sanders said.

Kushner's representatives also pushed back on the book in a statement to ABC News last week, writing that Ward's book is "fiction rather than any serious attempt to get the facts."

"Jared and Ivanka famously don't like it if people don't say great things about them," Ward said on "This Week" Sunday. "I wasn't expecting them to turn around and say, 'oh, she makes some good points.'"

Ward defended her reporting for the book, telling Stephanopoulos she interviewed 220 people and that while she did reference many anonymous sources, every claim had at least two sources.

"This White House is known for knocking down anyone who reports about it and I think Jared and Ivanka are obsessed with public relations, you know, more than anyone else," Ward said.

Ward also addressed the notion that the couple is a moderate influence on the president. She called this perception a "myth."

"They are not the moral center of this administration," Ward said.

Stephanopoulos asked, "You think they are enablers?"

"I think they are almost worse than enablers," Ward responded. "I think that most people go into government for public service. I think they've gone into self-service."

Stephanopoulos said, "And that gets to what really is the most loaded charge, it's right on the cover of your book, corruption."

Ward pointed to a meeting between Kushner and a major Chinese insurance firm on the first weekend of the transition to discuss the sale of a building in New York, saying the timing created "the appearance of corruption." She said Kushner didn't disclose this meeting to anyone else on the transition team, and at the same time was involved in meetings with Chinese officials on behalf of the Trump transition at the same time. ABC News previously reported on Kushner's efforts to solicit buyers for a building at 666 Fifth Ave.

Ward called this "the appearance of corruption."

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President Donald Trump criticizes late Sen. John McCain in weekend tweets

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Months after the death of Sen. John McCain, President Donald Trump continues to criticize him on Twitter.

The president tweeted on Sunday that McCain was “last in his class,” and accused the late senator of sharing the Steele dossier with the FBI and media before the 2016 election.

“So it was indeed (just proven in court papers) 'last in his class' (Annapolis) John McCain that sent the Fake Dossier to the FBI and Media hoping to have it printed BEFORE the Election,” the president tweeted on Sunday morning. “He & the Dems, working together, failed (as usual).”

There is no evidence that McCain shared the Steele dossier before the election. In 2018, ABC News reported that McCain hand-delivered a copy of the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey in December of 2016, after the presidential election. McCain confirmed this and explained why he decided to share the document in his book “The Restless Wave.”

“The allegations were disturbing, but I had no idea which if any were true. I could not independently verify any of it, and so I did what any American who cares about our nation's security should have done," McCain wrote. “I did what duty demanded I do.”

The dossier, compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Along with other explosive allegations, it alleged that Russians held compromising information about Trump that could be used to blackmail him.

Sen. McCain was not shy about finishing towards the bottom of his class at the U.S. Naval Academy, and once said in an interview with CBS News program “60 Minutes” he was proud of what he had accomplished.

“I celebrate what a guy who stood fifth from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy has, has been able to do. I'm so grateful -- every night when I go to sleep, I am just filled with gratitude,” he said.

On Saturday, the president accusing McCain of spreading “a fake totally discredited Dossier,” calling it a “very dark stain against John McCain.” The president also criticized McCain for his "thumbs down" vote on the GOP proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017.

“He had far worse ‘stains’ than this, including thumbs down on repeal and replace after years of campaigning to repeal and replace,” the president tweeted.

President Trump has been fixated on Sen. McCain over the years with criticisms of his military service, being a prisoner of war and his policy positions.

“He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said in 2015.

Meghan McCain responded to the president’s tweet Saturday about her father by suggesting the president should spend more time with his family instead of obsessing over hers.

“No one will ever love you the way they loved my father.... I wish I had been given more Saturday’s with him. Maybe spend yours with your family instead of on twitter obsessing over mine?,” she said Saturday.

She responded to the president's tweet on Sunday by tweeting: "My father lives rent free in your head." The tweet was later deleted.

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Joe Biden has 'real progressive record,' believes he'll announce presidential run soon: Sen. Chris Coons

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden has a "real progressive record of accomplishment" that he "could run on and I hope will run on," Sen. Chris Coons told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" Sunday.

Coons, a Democrat representing Delaware who holds Joe Biden's old Senate seat, said he's optimistic Biden will formally announce a 2020 presidential run soon. Despite some stances Biden once held in his long career, Coons said he will run a "very forward-looking and optimistic campaign."

Biden, "will see the divisions in our country and inspire us to heal them. To work together across them and move us into a better future as a country for all of us. There are things that he was involved in, or said, or voted for 25 or 30 or 40 years ago that I expect he will get asked about on the trail. But he has a real and solid record of stepping forward and being a champion for civil rights, for women's rights, for LGBTQ rights."

Coons has guaranteed that Biden is nearing a decision to run for president.

Ahead of a Delaware Democratic Party fundraising dinner Saturday, Coons shared with reporters that Biden told him he was "all-but-certain he is going to run."

Advisers and politicians close to Biden have also said they believe he'll take his chances and run for president amid a crowded field of Democratic contenders.

And Biden himself has hinted at what's to come.

"I'm told I get criticized by the new left," Biden said during a speech at Saturday's fundraising dinner, in reference to claims he would be a more moderate candidate compared to some of the current presidential contenders. "I have the most progressive record for anybody running for the United--"

While cheers erupted around him, Biden quickly clarified his comment, chuckling while he looked down at the podium and crossed himself.

"I didn't mean it," he said. "Of anybody who would run."

Speaking at the International Association of Fire Fighters legislative conference Tuesday, amid chants of "Run Joe Run," Biden encouraged his supporters to save their energy.

"I appreciate the energy when I got up here. Save it a little longer -- I may need it in a few weeks," Biden said Tuesday.

While Biden has some of the most support of the current 2020 hopefuls with a Monmouth University poll released Monday finding that 28 percent of Democrat or Democratic leaning voters surveyed would support Biden for the party's nomination, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll earlier this month hinted that his age may make him less appealing to some voters.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 62 percent of Americans surveyed said that a candidate over the age of 75 gave them some reservations or made them very uncomfortable. Biden is 76 years old.

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Trump administration should invest more in countering domestic terrorism: Former DHS official Tom Bossert

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- In the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand, Tom Bossert, former Trump Homeland Security and counterterrorism adviser, told ABC News' chief news anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” that the United States should focus on allocating funds within the Department of Homeland Security to combat the threat of domestic terrorism.

"I think that this administration stands ready to invest more money," Bossert said.

Former Obama Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson agreed with Bossert stating, "I do believe there is a role for the Department of Homeland Security when it comes to countering domestic-based violent extremism."

In the Oval Office on Friday afternoon President Donald Trump told ABC News' national correspondent Terry Moran that white nationalism was not a rising threat around the world.

The United States has seen several violent incidents within the past few years. In 2017, 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed during protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. Eleven worshipers were killed in a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last October. And nine people were gunned down at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy firm that tracks hate crimes within the United States, a Feb. 2019 report suggests that the number of hate groups across the country are at a record high. The report also indicates that there was a 30 percent increase in hate crimes that coincided with Trump’s campaign and presidency.

The FBI reports similar statistics suggesting that in 2017 hate crimes were on the rise for the third consecutive year. Race and ethnicity were the motivation behind nearly three out of five of the 7,100 hate crimes reported to the bureau. There were more than 8,000 victims of hate crimes within the United States. Data from 2018 has not been released.

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Beto O'Rourke greeted by friendly yet skeptical Iowa crowds as presidential campaign takes shape

Twitter/@ABC(MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa) -- As he had done after every campaign stop in Iowa since announcing his presidential campaign, Beto O'Rourke was shaking as many hands and taking as many selfies as his staff would allow when an attendee grabbed his attention.

David Suarez leaned over the counter at the Mount Pleasant coffee shop where O'Rourke spoke Friday morning to ask the former congressman about DREAMers, immigrants brought to the United States as children whose legal status remains in limbo after the Trump administration rescinded protections given to them under former President Barack Obama.

O'Rourke told Suarez he supports immediately legalizing DREAMers, referencing, as he so often does, his hometown of El Paso and the way its diverse population of immigrants is able to come together to find solutions and common ground.

The answer sounded good to Suarez, but in a town that saw 32 undocumented immigrants rounded up last year by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), the issue hits home for many of the town's Hispanic residents, and it was not sufficient.

"This is a big concern for our Hispanic community here in Mount Pleasant," Suarez told ABC News. "That sounds good in a speech, but we have to see the actions.

"He looks like a very good candidate, but we have to wait a little bit more until we can see the other candidates and what they propose," Suarez said of O'Rourke, the former three-term congressman who shot to national stardom during his losing U.S. Senate bid last year against one of the GOP's most polarizing figures, Sen. Ted Cruz.

The impression of O'Rourke as a relentless optimist was echoed by many of the people, mostly Democrats, who showed up to see him talk about why he has jumped into a crowded Democratic primary field that has swelled to over 15 candidates.

"I don't know if Beto can win," Jackie McVery, who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Iowa caucuses, said prior to O'Rourke's second event in the state in Fort Madison. "I just have to see how he interacts with other candidates, if he has that fight ... because Trump is mean, he's cruel, he will tear his family apart. ... If Beto can stand up to him then I think he has a huge chance."

Campaigning from the bed of a pickup truck, standing on the front bar of coffeehouses, and after a St. Patrick's Day-themed 5K race, O'Rourke said his campaign for president will be much like his long-shot bid to unseat Cruz, focused on "showing up everywhere," and speaking to voters disillusioned with the political process.

"This campaign has got to be about learning from the people we meet and finding a way to bring people together," O'Rourke told reporters after finishing his 5K race. "This pace and this manner of campaigning is not just perhaps the best way to win, it may be the only way to serve if we're going to beat the challenges before us."

It's a welcome message for many who showed up at O'Rourke's events, but with just under a year until the 2020 Iowa caucuses, many Democrats in the state are withholding judgment on the Texan's chances against a field of Democrats that already includes six U.S. senators and could soon see the candidacy of former Vice President Joe Biden.

"I'm real curious about some of the women, but we haven't seen any of them yet," Susan Fisher said at O'Rourke's event in the town of Washington, Iowa.

When asked outside of his campaign stop in Washington about whether Biden should run for president, O'Rourke heaped praise on the man currently leading in most early polls of the Democratic field.

"I don't see why not," O'Rourke said when asked if Biden should get in the race. "I think he's done an extraordinary job for this country as senator and as vice president."

When a voter at one of his events in the town of Independence stood up to say he did not want Biden to run, O'Rourke said he disagrees, saying he would welcome Biden's perspective in the race.

"He’s been there, done that. He’s just too old,” that voter, Jake Blitsch, a Navy veteran, told ABC News after the event. "I want to see someone younger than me."

O'Rourke, who said during his 2018 race that he would vote to impeach President Donald Trump, believes the issue should now be left up to his former congressional colleagues. Still, he said it is "beyond a shadow of a doubt that the president sought to collude with a foreign power against the United States to undermine our democracy."

"You’re asking me, 'Has the president committed impeachable offenses?' Yes, period," O'Rourke said.

The first days of O'Rourke's presidential candidacy were, like many, far from perfect. The candidate issued apologies for both a joke he made about his wife primarily raising his three kids, and a report about disturbing writings of his as a teenager.

"My ham-handed attempt to try to highlight the fact that Amy has the lion's share of the burden in our family ... should have also been a moment for me to acknowledge that that is far too often the case, not just in politics, but just in life in general," O'Rourke said during a podcast taping Friday evening in Cedar Rapids.

Of his teenage writings, O'Rourke said, "I'm mortified to read it now, but I have to take ownership of my words and understand the way they make people feel when they read them."

In spite of the joke and the writings, O'Rourke is unwavering in his confidence that his presidential campaign can tap into the same type of organic enthusiasm and grassroots energy that defined his race against Cruz, a tall order to replicate over what is sure to be a grueling, almost two-year campaign.

O'Rourke, while acknowledging he fell short last year, is adamant that his 2020 race will be run in the same way, despite the logistical challenges.

"It's a big country, and traveling to be with everyone in a campaign that receives no PAC contributions, in a way that feels right to me, which is ensuring that no one is left behind or taken for granted. We go everywhere and really run this for an entire country," O'Rourke said.

"That's going to be our challenge. It's a function of geography and time, but I will work with everything that I've got, I will do my best to be part of the largest grassroots campaign this country's ever seen," he added.

That strategy will continue in the coming days, as O'Rourke continues his initial campaign blitz with two stops in Wisconsin and rumors of a bigger swing through the Midwest ahead.

As he got into the Dodge Caravan he has been driving around Iowa, O'Rourke said the plan is to drive the car all the way to the state that follows Iowa in the presidential nominating contest some 1,200 miles to the east -- New Hampshire.

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'I'm running for president': New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand formally announces presidential run

YouTube/Kirsten Gillibrand(NEW YORK) -- After launching a presidential exploratory committee in January, Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand made her run official, announcing that "I am running for president" in a video posted to her verified YouTube account Sunday morning.

Gillibrand made the announcement in a video titled "Brave Wins," in which the New York junior senator quotes from the "Star Spangled Banner" to highlight examples of bravery in the history of the United States and to take on President Trump.

"Brave doesn't spread hate," she said in the video. "Cloud truth. Build a wall. That's what fear does."

Demonstrating her will to take on the president, Gillibrand ended her video with an announcement that her first major speech as a presidential candidate will take place outside of the Trump International Hotel in New York City on March 24.

Since launching an exploratory committee two months ago, Gillibrand has introduced herself to voters in several swing states -- including Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

By officially entering the race, Gillibrand joins a crowded field, becoming the 14th official Democratic candidate running for president.

Despite Gillibrand getting an early start in the race by launching her exploratory committee -- a traditional precursor to announcing a run -- she has barely registered in the polls.

In a recent Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Poll of Iowa, Gillibrand was not picked as the first choice candidate for president by a single survey participant.

Gillibrand has also struggled to win endorsements and has yet to capture an endorsement from a single member of New York's congressional delegation.

The senator, who was once considered a moderate Democrat, was elected to Congress in 2006. In 2009, when then-Sen. Hillary Clinton was tapped to be President Barack Obama's Secretary of State, Gillibrand was appointed to finish Clinton's Senate term.

Since entering the Senate, Gillibrand has pushed a more progressive agenda. Gillibrand "proudly" touts her "F" rating from the National Rifle Association and is rated as "the seventh most liberal member of the 46-person Democratic Caucus" in the last Congress, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Gillibrand had previously said her campaign theme would focus on fighting for children across the country.

She has voted against Trump's position "more often than any other senator" as of December 2017, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Gillibrand has also opposed many of Trump's cabinet and senior administrative nominees, including voting against Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Gillibrand's campaign contends that "she is committed to fighting for what's right, even when it's hard."

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Joe Biden slips, hints at 2020 presidential run: 'I have the most progressive record of anyone running'

Win McNamee/Getty Images(DOVER, Del.) -- As the political world continues to wait for Joe Biden to decide whether he will seek the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, the former vice president nearly revealed his plans Saturday night as he defended his record at a Delaware Democratic Party fundraising dinner.

"I'm told I get criticized by the new left," Biden said, referring to claims that he would occupy a moderate lane should he join the presidential race. "I have the most progressive record for anybody running."

But as his home state audience erupted in cheers, the longtime Delaware senator quickly walked a piece of the comment back.

"I didn't mean it. I mean, of anyone who would run. Of anybody who would run," he said.

Though his view on policy may not be all that different from the potential 2020 rivals classified as left of Biden, the calls for consensus and civility that comprised much of his speech Saturday set him apart in an era of increasingly hostile political rhetoric.

"We've got to get to know one another again," Biden said, describing what he called the "Delaware way," where, because the state is so small, personal relationships supersede political differences.

"You have to arrive at consensus," he continued. "Without consensus, nothing gets done period. Have to listen to the other guy, the other woman. Work with one another, respect one another no matter how badly you disagree."

Biden held up as an example his relationship with the late Sen. John McCain, with whom he said he disagreed vehemently on political issues, but maintained a strong friendship because they each believed that the other wanted the best for the United States.

"Once you question another man or woman's motive you can never reach an agreement," said the former vice president. "I can tell you have a stupid idea about this that or the other… and we can still compromise."

Though some of his critiques, particularly about taking "the venom out" of politics, appeared to be particularly focused on President Donald Trump and Republicans, Biden -- a veteran of national campaigns -- is clearly keeping his finger on the pulse of his fellow Democratic hopefuls.

All eyes have been on Biden as he deliberates privately over whether to seek the 2020 Democratic nomination for president. Many of those close to him believe he will run.

Earlier this week, Biden was greeted with a warm reception at a conference for the International Association of Fire Fighters, where he encouraged the crowd to conserve their energy.

"I may need it in a few weeks," he quipped.

Multiple sources close to the former vice president have told ABC News that they believe he will launch a campaign, and in recent weeks, he has conferred with allies such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. -- who was left with the impression Biden would pursue the presidency, according to her office.

Prior to Saturday's dinner, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., told reporters that Biden told him he was "all-but-certain he is going to run."

On Thursday, Biden met with another potential 2020 candidate, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. The pair discussed their respective future plans, according to a source close to Abrams.



On Thursday, Biden met with another potential 2020 candidate, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. The two men discussed their respective future plans, according to a source close to Abrams.

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Chelsea Clinton confronted by college students at vigil for New Zealand victims: '49 people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.'

David Levenson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Chelsea Clinton was confronted on Friday night by college students at a vigil for the victims of the mass shootings in New Zealand, who claimed that she was part of a group of people who "stoked" the violence that led to the massacre.

"This right here is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words you put out there, said Leen Dweik, an international relations and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies student at New York University (NYU), in the video. "I want you to know that and I want you to feel that deep inside. Forty-nine people died because of the rhetoric you put out there."

Dweik told ABC News that she was referring to comments Clinton made on Twitter criticizing Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women in Congress, who in February suggested on Twitter that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, and other members of Congress support Israel because they get campaign donations from pro-Israel groups and individuals.

Many leaders from both sides of the aisle viewed the comment as anti-Semitic because it evoked stereotypes linking Jews to money.

"When we saw Chelsea Clinton at the vigil...we saw an opportunity to access someone who has a huge public platform and who used that platform to attack Rep. Ilhan Omar," Dweik told ABC News in a statement on Saturday. "We took our chance to speak truth to power.”

"Clinton used her vast platform to weaponized antisemitism and to silence criticism of Israel...and in doing so fanned the flames of racism and Islamophobia," she continued. "We know that our only safety is through solidarity. The fight against Islamophobia is the fight against antisemitism is the fight against racism is the fight against white supremacy. When someone attacks one of us, they attack all of us.”

Clinton was invited to the vigil Friday night because of her role in founding NYU’s Of Many Institute, a multi-faith organization on campus, sources close to Clinton said, adding that the daughter of former President Bill Clinton has a history of being outspoken against all forms of hate including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

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