Donald Trump launched a broad rebuke of his presidential rival Hillary Clinton Wednesday, accusing her of being “a world class liar” who personally profited from her tenure at the State Department. “She gets rich making you poor,” Trump said.
Seeking to steady his campaign after a difficult stretch, the presumptive Republican nominee cast himself as the White House candidate best positioned to address Americans’ economic interests.
“This election will decide whether we’re ruled by the people or the politicians,” Trump said during an address at his hotel in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. He made his arguments in a pointed yet measured tone, less loud and strident than has been typical in most previous campaign speeches.
The speech marked an opening salvo against Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, in the general election campaign. It came as the real estate mogul faced growing questions about his readiness not just for the presidency, but for the campaign he will need to run to get there.
Trump ticked through a litany of criticisms of Clinton, including her use of a private email server at the State Department, the high-dollar speaking fees she received from Wall Street banks, and her support for trade deals that he says have devastated the middle class.
He also sought to undercut her foreign policy record during her four years as the nation’s top diplomat, as well as her early support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Clinton has since said her vote for the war was a mistake.
“The Hillary Clinton foreign policy has cost America thousands of lives and trillions of dollars and trillions of dollars and unleashed ISIS across the world,” Trump said.
Trump’s speech came on the heels of his firing Monday of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, a controversial figure who was seen as an impediment to efforts to build out a more robust campaign organization. A new fundraising report released hours after Lewandowski’s firing underscored how much ground Trump has to make up: he started June with just $1.3 million in the bank.
Trump allies cast Lewandowski’s firing this week as the start of a new phase for the campaign. Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman and Lewandowski’s internal rival, signaled on a conference call with aides that a rapid staffing expansion would be coming soon.
Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who has been seen as a potential vice presidential pick, said he was “pretty excited” to learn of the changes.
“I think that what appears to be occurring over the last 24 hours is a movement in a direction that I think could be very, very positive,” Corker said.