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Clinton, Trump say America has become too divided after Dallas shootings

Hillary Clinton
Melina Mara | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Friday called on Americans to work together to help mend the divisiveness in the country after five police officers were slain in Dallas.

"I think everyone understands that we have some very deep divides in our country and if we don't start addressing them — and that's a matter of urgency and it's not just for some people to do it, but it's for all of us to do it — then I believe that we will find ourselves in an even worse downward spiral," she told MSNBC on Friday.

Clinton's remarks come after at least one attacker shot 12 police officers, killing five, during a Thursday night protest over deadly police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Trump called the officer deaths "horrific execution-style shootings" and "an attack on our country" in a Friday Facebook post.

The current state of affairs "isn't the American Dream we all want for our children," Trump said.

"Our nation has become too divided. Too many Americans feel like they've lost hope. Crime is harming too many citizens. Racial tensions have gotten worse, not better. ... This is a time, perhaps more than ever, for strong leadership, love and compassion. We will pull through these tragedies," he said.

Clinton said that she thinks "that something has been unleashed in our nation where people are saying cruel and hateful things about one another from all kinds of vantage points." The presumptive Democratic nominee said that there needs to be "a national conversation" to help foster mutual respect.

"I want white people to understand how African-Americans feel every day, the anxiety and fear — particularly sending off their children, particularly young men, not knowing what's going to happen to them. I want people to put themselves in the shoes of police officers and their families who get up every day and go off and do a very dangerous job," Clinton said.

Towards this end, she emphasized the need for criminal justice reform and "national guidelines about the use of force, particularly lethal force, so routine traffic stops don't escalate into killings."