Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a round table with the Republican Leadership Initiative at Trump Tower in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Thursday criticized his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, for falsely accusing him and GOP voters of racism.

“It’s the oldest play in the Democratic playbook. When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument,” Trump said at a campaign rally in New Hampshire. “You’re racist, you’re racist, you’re racist. It’s a tired, disgusting argument. And it’s so totally predictable.”

“She lies, and she smears, she paints decent Americans — you— as racists,” he added, a day after he himself called Clinton a “bigot” who “sees people of color only as votes not as human beings worthy of a better future.”

The Manhattan real estate mogul defended his policies on immigration and terrorism, maintaining they were not racist or Islamophobic or prejudiced, but rather necessary steps to save American lives. 

“People who want their laws enforced and respected, and who want their border secured, are not racists. They are patriotic Americans of all backgrounds who want their jobs protected and their country kept safe,” he said.

“People who speak out against radical Islam, and who warn about refugees, are not Islamophobes. They are decent American citizens who want to uphold our values as a tolerant society, and who want to keep the terrorists out of our country,” he added.

Trump’s address was a preemptive effort to turn the tables on Clinton, who delivered what her campaign billed as a major address later Thursday linking the GOP nominee to a group of radical conservatives referred to as the “alt-right.” The “alt-right” philosophy of white nationalism and anti-immigrant sentiment was heralded by Trump’s newly installed co-campaign manager Steve Bannon while he headed the conservative website Breitbart News. 

Addressing supporters in New Hampshire, Trump called Clinton’s speech “one of the most brazen attempts at distraction in the history of politics.”

“To Hillary Clinton, and to her donors and advisors,” Trump said, “pushing her to spread her smears and her lies about decent people, I have three words: Shame On You.”