Following a scathing speech by Hillary Clinton yesterday, in which the Democratic candidate warned a Trump presidency would unleash a recession (one which is long overdue anyway, 7 years into the business cycle), Trump on Wednesday retaliated with a blistering attack of his own on Hillary Clinton, assailing her as “a world class liar” and failed secretary of state who can’t be trusted on issues ranging from the turmoil in the Middle East to immigration and trade. His resounding punchline was that “Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person to ever seek the presidency of the United States,” during a speech in his hotel in SoHo, reading from a teleprompter in his first major speech of the general election.
Setting the stage for a ferocious 4 1/2-month battle for the White House, Trump defined the far more aggressive stage of the campaign by slamming Clinton's underlying philosophy, saying "Her campaign slogan is, 'I'm with her.' You know what my response is to that? 'I'm with you, the American people.'
... and then questioned the very basis of Clinton’s candidacy, charging that she bungled at every turn while serving as the nation’s chief diplomat. “Her invasion of Libya handed the country over to ISIS, the barbarians. Thanks to Hillary Clinton, Iran is the dominant Islamic power in the Middle East and on the road to nuclear weapons,” Trump said.
He added that Clinton’s call for replacing President Bashar al-Assad in Syria had plunged the region into chaos and created a breeding ground for radical Islamic terrorists.
“Hillary Clinton’s support for violent regime change in Syria has thrown the country into one of the bloodiest civil wars anyone has ever seen while giving ISIS a launching pad for terrorism against the West,” he said.
He continued to pound Hillary on her foreign policy missteps saying “ISIS threatens us today because of the decisions Hillary Clinton has made along with President Obama. In short, Hillary Clinton’s tryout for the presidency has produced one deadly foreign policy disaster after another.”
Trump also blamed Clinton for the death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in a terrorist attack on the American compound in Benghazi, Libya, in September, 2012. “What she did with him was absolutely horrible. He was left helpless to die as Hillary Clinton soundly slept in her bed. Ambassador Stevens and his staff in Libya made hundreds and hundreds of requests for security. They were desperate. They needed help. Hillary Clinton’s state department refused them all,” he said.
“To cover her tracks, Hillary lied about the video being the cause of death, the famous video, all a lie, another Hillary lie. Here’s what one of the victims’ mother had to say. ‘I want the whole world to know it, she lied to my face,’” he said about an anti-Islam video the Obama administration initially blamed for the attack.
He then continued with a laundry list of charges against the ex-New York senator and by extension the Obama presidency, including the failure to maintain the country’s infrastructure and trade deals that cost Americans jobs. “When I see the crumbling roads and bridges or dilapidated airports or factories moving overseas to Mexico or other countries for that matter, I know these problems can all be fixed but not by Hillary Clinton, only by me,” Trump said.
“Everywhere I look I see the possibility our country can be but we can’t solve any of these problems by relying on politicians who created the problems themselves. We’ll never be able to fix a rigged system by counting on the same people who have rigged it in the first place. The insiders wrote the rules of the game to keep themselves in power.”
Trump also made an appeal to Bernie Sanders’ supporters to join his side — while listing examples of what he called Clinton’s dishonesty. “Hillary Clinton, most people know, she’s a world class liar. Just look at her pathetic e-mail server statements or her phony landing in Bosnia where she said she was under attack and the attack turned out to be young girls handing her flowers, a total lie. This was one of the beauts, a self-serving lie,” Trump said.
"While we may not know what is in those deleted emails, our enemies probably know every single one of them." - Trump pic.twitter.com/y6XzNfrmDp— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 22, 2016
“If she ever became president, God help us.”
Speaking in an unexpectedly deliberate and moderate tone, the presumptive candidate also slammed Clinton for using her career in public life to enrich herself by cutting deals with foreign regimes that then donated millions to her family’s foundation or paid for Bill Clinton’s speeches. “Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit and even theft,” he charged.
“She ran the state department like her own personal hedge fund doing favors for oppressive regimes and many others and really many, many others in exchange for cash, pure and simple, folks.” Trump singled out costly trade deals as one of Clinton’s worst blunders.
“Hillary Clinton has also been the biggest promoter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will ship millions more of our jobs overseas and give up congressional power to an international foreign commission. Now because I have pointed out why it would be such a disastrous deal, she’s pretending she’s against it,” he said.
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As the Post notes, the real estate tycoon’s address marked his official opening salvo against the prospective Democratic presidential nominee in what promises to be a brutal campaign for the White House. It also came as Trump faced growing questions about his readiness not just for the presidency, but for the race he will need to run to get there given his relative lack of cash and bare-bones campaign operation.
Earlier Wednesday, during an appearance on “CBS This Morning,” Trump tried to turn the tables on Clinton over the disparity in their fundraising. “I don’t want to devote the rest of my life to raising money from people,” Trump said.
“And you know when she raises this money, every time she raises this money, she is making deals. They’re saying, ‘Can I be the ambassador to this? Can I do that? Make sure my business is being taken care of.’ I mean, give me a break. All of the money she is raising is blood money,” Trump charged.
“Look, she is getting tremendous amounts from Wall Street. She is going to take care of Wall Street.”
And, of course, Saudi Arabia.
Finally, this is how Michael Krieger summarizes Trump's speech:
Now I’m no Trump fan, but I think it’s very important Hillary Clinton gets hit hard and for the right reasons throughout the campaign. She’s violent, corrupt and displays all the attributes of a sociopath. While Trump is unquestionably an authoritarian who says really stupid and hurtful stuff, Hillary Clinton has actually done egregious things throughout her public life. Furthermore, as I outlined in a post earlier today, she is far more likely to start WW3 than he is.