Clinton: Here's what Donald Trump doesn't get about America

Hillary Clinton speaking with microphone
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Hillary Clinton on Wednesday slammed Donald Trump's fitness for military and foreign policy leadership, claiming he does not understand America's role in the world.

The Democratic presidential nominee tried to appeal to a range of ideologies, casting the United States as an exceptional nation and touting America's "unique ability" to lead around the world. She called her Republican opponent a "loose cannon" unable to build meaningful relationships with allies, highlighting his Wednesday visit to Mexico, a rcountry he has repeatedly attacked during his campaign.

Getting countries to work together takes more than trying to "make up for a year of insults and insinuations by dropping in on our neighbors for a few hours," she told the American Legion's national convention in Cincinnati.

Trump will follow Clinton's speech with his own remarks to the veterans group on Thursday. Both have called the other unfit to lead the military, with Trump seizing on Clinton's secretary of state tenure and Clinton highlighting Trump's temperament and experience.

Clinton on Wednesday tried to appeal to Republicans and independents, a strategy she has used more often since the Democratic National Convention in July amid some Republicans' reluctance to support Trump. She said she believed in a vision of American exceptionalism that Trump did not, citing views of a unique America outlined by Republican Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.

"When we say America is exceptional, that doesn't mean people from other places don't feel deep national pride just like we do. It means we recognize America's unique and unparalleled ability" to lead, she said.

Clinton, who Trump has repeatedly said helped to create the terror group ISIS with her Middle East policy, highlighted what she called the foreign policy successes of President Barack Obama's administration. She said Obama "cut off Iran's path to a nuclear weapon," "brought Osama bin Laden to justice" and built the international coalition fighting ISIS.

She also slammed Trump for his past suggestion that he may not protect some allies who do not pay their fair share for defense.

"If I'm president our friends will always know America will have your backs and we'll expect you to have ours," Clinton said.

She also bashed Trump for some comments where he appeared to praise Vladimir Putin, saying "we can't cozy up to dictators."

Trump will have his chance to respond Thursday, but he has repeatedly bashed Clinton's time as secretary of state on the campaign trail. He has previously highlighted policy in Egypt and Libya, the rise of ISIS and the attack on an American consulate in Libya as evidence of Clinton's incompetence.