Trump, amid campaign turmoil, says Clinton 'sold out'
NEW YORK >> Donald Trump delivered a scathing and highly personal critique of Hillary Clinton on Wednesday amid an urgent effort to reboot his struggling campaign, accusing her of having "sold out" American workers during her decades-long career in government.
"Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency of the United States," the presumptive Republican nominee said during a speech at the Trump SoHo Hotel here in New York.
In his nearly 40-minute speech - which he read with uncharacteristic restraint, from a teleprompter - Trump sought to portray Bill and Hillary Clinton as dishonest and self-interested, warning that a Hillary Clinton presidency could destabilize the country's "rigged" economy and weaken national security.
But his speech repeatedly misstated or exaggerated key facts about Clinton's record and the policies she supports, including the suggestion that she wants to "completely open borders" and his statement that refugees who enter the United States are not vetted. He also incorrectly stated that she supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which she came out against last year, and said she wants to "abolish" the Second Amendment.
Trump focused a large portion of his speech on blasting international trade deals that he said have come at the expense of American workers, taking particular aim at the Trans-Pacific Partnership and tying Clinton to her husband's support for the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s. He said that the United States has promoted globalism "to the detriment of the American worker and the American economy itself" and that the TPP would result in the loss of millions of jobs.
"America will be better off once we start making our own products again," Trump said. "We have to bring our manufacturers back to the United States. . .we need those jobs."
Trump in several instances blasted companies that outsource labor and manufacturing, although many Trump-branded products are made overseas.
"It's not just the political system that's rigged, it's the whole economy. It's rigged by big donors who want to keep wages down. It's rigged by big businesses who want to leave our country," he said.
The business mogul hit the Clintons for delivering paid speeches and accused the former secretary of state of acceding to the demands of special interests, who he said "totally own her." He blasted the Clintons for accepting donations for their family foundation from foreign governments, including China, during her tenure at the State Department.
As Trump spoke, Clinton was meeting with House Democrats on Capitol Hill, where she was greeted by cheering that was audible in the hallway outside. She was slated to speak later in North Carolina, considered a battleground state, to present her economic plan in contrast to Trump's.
Ahead of Trump's address, Clinton's campaign sent reporters a compilation of news reports fact-checking or debunking various claims about Clinton previously made by Trump or others. Titled, "A Viewer's Guide to Trump's Latest Baseless Attacks Against Hillary Clinton," the Clinton message branded Trump as "a conspiracy theorist who has serious problems with the truth."
Trump's campaign has been besieged by criticism in recent weeks, centered largely on his persistent attacks against a Hispanic federal judge and his clumsy response to the mass shooting at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando.
Republican Party leaders and strategists are also worried that the campaign has failed to build a robust campaign infrastructure in key battleground states. A shockingly sparse campaign finance report filed to the Federal Election Commission, which showed that the campaign had just $1.3 million in the bank heading into June, has also prompted concern that Trump does not have an effective fundraising operation in place.
On Monday, he fired his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.
Turning his sights to Clinton on Wednesday, Trump blasted her foreign policy judgement. He said her support for the Iraq War and intervention in Libya have contributed to the destabilization of the Middle East and allowed the growth of the Islamic State militant group.
"No secretary of state has been more wrong, more often, and in more places than Hillary Clinton. Her decisions spread death, destruction and terrorism everywhere she touched," he said.
Trump also slammed her for using a private email server as secretary of state, which he said could have exposed information about her life to foreign governments that they can use to "blackmail" her.
"In short, Hillary Clinton's tryout for the presidency has produced one deadly foreign policy disaster after another. One by one, they're all bad. She's virtually done nothing right, she's virtually done nothing good," he said. "Her leadership style - volcanic, impulsive. . .disdainful of the rules set for everyone else - hasn't changed a bit."
In one instance, Trump said he was one of the earliest to criticize "the rush to war" in Iraq, a talking point he regularly uses on the campaign trail. Trump, in fact, initially supported the war.