WASHINGTON: Donald Trump has called his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton a "bigot", with Mrs Clinton countering that he was the head of a far-Right "hate movement".
On a day in which the antipathy in the US election seemed to reach fever pitch, both candidates delivered speeches last night (Thursday) that consisted almost entirely of attacks on one another.
Mr Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, claimed Mrs Clinton, the former Secretary of State, had run a "vast criminal enterprise" out of the US State department. "It's Watergate all over again," he said of alleged favouritism shown to donors to her family's philanthropic foundation.
On Wednesday night, Mr Trump claimed Mrs Clinton was a "bigot" who viewed minorities "only as votes, not as human beings".
The comments were part of his newfound efforts to compete with Mrs Clinton for black and Hispanic votes under the unorthodox headline, "What do you have to lose?" Mrs Clinton addressed that question during her speech yesterday. "It really does take a lot of nerve to ask people he's ignored and mistreated for decades, 'what do you have to lose?'
"Because the answer is, 'everything'," she said. "Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia. He's taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over one of America's two major political parties."
Mrs Clinton also criticised Mr Trump for appearing at a rally with Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader.
"Just yesterday one of Britain's most prominent Right-wing leaders, a man named Nigel Farage who stoked anti-immigrant sentiment to win the referendum to have Britain leave the European Union, campaigned with Donald Trump in Mississippi," she said.
"That's who Donald Trump wants by his side when he is addressing an audience of American voters."
Mr Trump dismissed her efforts to portray him as racist as the "oldest play in the Democratic playbook".
After making the deportation of all 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the US a centrepiece of his primary election campaign, Mr Trump has now indicated that he would allow many such individuals to stay in the US.
Mrs Clinton said Mr Trump's proposed "softening" was the third different immigration position he had expressed in 24 hours.