WASHINGTON, May 4 (UPI) -- In her first public comments since Indiana's primary effectively handed Donald Trump the Republican nomination, Hillary Clinton promised supporters she would not be "dumbfounded" by Trump's unorthodox tactics, as she said his GOP rivals were.
Clinton, speaking to CNN's Anderson Cooper, said she would match Trump's attacks if he chooses to turn the campaign into a clash of personalities, as he frequently did during the Republican primary.
"You know, he's the one that's making that decision, Anderson. Not me. He's the one who has run the campaign insulting people, demeaning women, degrading people with disabilities, talking about keeping Muslims out of the country. He's the one who has been running that kind of very negative, aggressive bullying campaign," she said. "He could choose to run whatever campaign he wants to run. I'm going to keep staying on the campaign I'm running."
Cooper asked Clinton whether she was prepared to defend herself against attacks about her husband's infidelities and other scandals. The Democratic front-runner scoffed, saying she's faced similar attacks in the past and survived them.
"Well, he's not the first one, Anderson. I just can't -- I can't say this often enough. If he wants to go back to the playbook of the 1990s, if he wants to follow in the footsteps of those who have tried to knock me down and take me out of the political arena, I'm more than happy to have him do that."
Cooper pressed Clinton, asking if she was "ready for that."
"Oh, please," Clinton responded. "I mean, look ... this is to me a classic case of a blustering, bullying guy who has knocked out of the way all of the Republicans because they were just dumbfounded. They didn't know how to deal with him and they couldn't take him on on the issues, and they basically agreed with him and they didn't take him on on the issues because they agreed with him and they didn't know how to counterpunch."
Clinton did not speak publicly Tuesday night after Trump effectively clinched the GOP nomination. Instead, her campaign chairman John Podesta issued a statement, calling Trump "too big a risk" to be elected president.
During Wednesday's interview, Clinton doubled down on that attack, branding Trump a "loose cannon."