Vis­it­ing city, Trump as­sails Clin­ton’s ‘de­plorables’ line

In Dun­dalk, an en­thu­si­as­tic wel­come and a crab cake At­tack on his sup­port­ers dis­qual­i­fy­ing, he says

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Pamela Wood By John Fritze

Word trav­eled quickly Mon­day morn­ing: Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump, in Bal­ti­more for a cam­paign ap­pear­ance, might make a stop in Dun­dalk that af­ter­noon.

The Boule­vard Diner, al­ready a pop­u­lar hang­out, filled to ca­pac­ity, vol­un­teers passed out Trump stick­ers and signs — and the ru­mor be­came re­al­ity. The New York busi­ness­man strode into the diner about 1:40 p.m., to ap­plause and cheers of “Trump! Trump! Trump!”

Theresa Fogler, stand­ing on tip­toes and hold­ing her phone up to catch a shot of Trump, could barely con­tain her ex­cite­ment. The Mid­dle River woman said she’s been a fan of Trump for decades, af­ter see­ing him give an in­ter­view on “The Oprah Win­frey Show.”

“I’m so ex­cited,” she said. “This is so cool. Ab­so­lutely amaz­ing!”

Eastern Bal­ti­more County, a one­time Anti-Trump pro­test­ers gather across from the con­ven­tion cen­ter. “This guy rep­re­sents ev­ery­thing that’s hate­ful, ev­ery­thing about big­otry,” one or­ga­nizer said.

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump, speak­ing in Bal­ti­more on Mon­day, crit­i­cized Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton for char­ac­ter­iz­ing his sup­port­ers as a “bas­ket of de­plorables,” telling an au­di­ence of mil­i­tary lead­ers that the re­mark “dis­qual­i­fies her from pub­lic ser­vice.”

Ap­pear­ing in Mary­land for the first time as the GOP nom­i­nee, Trump told mem­bers of the Na­tional Guard As­so­ci­a­tion of the United States that he was “deeply shocked and alarmed” by Clin­ton’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of his sup­port­ers — re­marks she made on Fri­day and walked back a day later.

“Our sup­port comes from ev­ery part of Amer­ica, and ev­ery walk of life,” said Trump, speak­ing at the Bal­ti­more Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in his first cam­paign event since Clin­ton’s com­ments drew at­ten­tion. “She di­vides peo­ple into bas­kets as though they were ob­jects, not hu­man be­ings.

“If Hil­lary Clin­ton will not re­tract her

com­ments in full, then I don’t see how she can cred­i­bly cam­paign,” he said.

With less than two months to go be­fore the Nov. 8 election, Trump is hop­ing Clin­ton’s re­marks will re­ver­ber­ate in the same way that GOP nom­i­nee Mitt Rom­ney’s “47 per­cent” com­ment dam­aged his cam­paign in 2012.

That year, Rom­ney said at a fundraiser that 47 per­cent of the elec­torate would sup­port Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s re­elec­tion be­cause they were “de­pen­dent upon gov­ern­ment” and “be­lieve that they are vic­tims.”

Hours be­fore Trump ar­rived in Bal­ti­more, his cam­paign un­veiled a new tele­vi­sion ad that hit on Clin­ton’s com­ments.

“You know what’s de­plorable?” the nar­ra­tor asks in the ad, set to run in the bat­tle­ground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida. “Hil­lary Clin­ton vi­ciously de­mo­niz­ing hard­work­ing peo­ple like you.”

A spokes­woman for Clin­ton’s cam­paign did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Trump’s ad­dress Mon­day to cur­rent and re­tired Na­tional Guard of­fi­cers — de­liv­ered on script and from a teleprompter — was a re­mark­able shift in tone af­ter a year of cam­paign­ing in which Trump has drawn sup­port with bom­bas­tic, ir­rev­er­ent rhetoric and Clin­ton has tried to cast her­self as the can­di­date to bring a di­vided coun­try to­gether.

Clin­ton’s dif­fi­cult week­end be­gan Fri­day with her com­ments at a New York fundraiser.

“To just be grossly gen­er­al­is­tic, you can put half of Trump sup­port­ers into what I call the bas­ket of de­plorables,” Clin­ton said. “Right? Racist, sex­ist, ho­mo­pho­bic, xeno­pho­bic, Is­lam­o­pho­bic, you name it.

“And un­for­tu­nately, there are peo­ple like that and he has lifted them up,” she added. “He has given voice to their web­sites that Trump sup­port­ers stage a coun­ter­protest across the street from the Bal­ti­more Con­ven­tion Cen­ter. Bal­ti­more po­lice said they made no ar­rests from ei­ther side. used to only have 11,000 peo­ple, now have 11 mil­lion. He tweets and retweets of­fen­sive, hate­ful, mean-spir­ited rhetoric.”

A day later, Clin­ton said she re­gret­ted say­ing that “half” of Trump’s sup­port­ers were de­plorable, but said Trump “has built his cam­paign largely on prej­u­dice and para­noia.”

Trump vis­ited deeply Demo­cratic Mary­land at a time when polls show a tight­en­ing race for the White House both na­tion­ally and in swing states. It fol­lowed a dif­fi­cult week­end for the Clin­ton cam­paign, which also had to ex­plain a vi­ral video show­ing the for­mer sec­re­tary of state un­steady on her feet af­ter she abruptly left a Sept. 11 memo­rial cer­e­mony.

Aides later said Clin­ton had been di­ag­nosed with pneu­mo­nia, and will be back on the cam­paign trail this week.

It is un­usual for Mary­land to host pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nees for an event other than a fundraiser. Reg­is­tered Democrats out­num­ber Repub­li­cans in the state 2 to 1, and vot­ers last se­lected a GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in 1988. Re­cent polling has found Trump trail­ing Clin­ton by 29 points here.

But Trump’s mes­sage was geared for a na­tional au­di­ence, not a lo­cal one. Though he has fre­quently men­tioned Bal­ti­more on the cam­paign trail — and has re­cently made an ef­fort to reach out to African-Amer­i­can and His­panic vot­ers — he did not men­tion the city di­rectly Mon­day.

Trump ar­gued that Demo­cratic poli­cies have “pro­duced fail­ing schools, shrink­ing in­comes, and the tragic poverty and job­less­ness in our in­ner cities.”

He re­peat­edly touted the im­por­tance of the mil­i­tary, and said his ad­min­is­tra­tion would en­sure the Na­tional Guard has the re­sources and equip­ment needed to carry out its mis­sion.

He re­peated an of­ten-cited vow to de­feat Is­lamic State fight­ers in Iraq and Syria with­out of­fer­ing any specifics of how he would ac­com­plish the goal.

“I will pledge to give you the re­sources, the equip­ment and the sup­port that you de­serve and that you’re not get­ting,” Trump told the of­fi­cers. “You will have a true and loyal friend in the White House.”

The as­so­ci­a­tion in­vited both Trump and Clin­ton to speak at its an­nual con­fer­ence. Clin­ton did not ap­pear.

Democrats fo­cused Mon­day on com­ments Trump has made re­cently about the mil­i­tary. He said last week that its lead­er­ship had been “re­duced to rub­ble” un­der Obama.

Trump has also drawn fire from Clin­ton sup­port­ers for say­ing that Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader than Obama.

“We are talk­ing about a per­son who says that our mil­i­tary is a dis­as­ter,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee for Mary­land’s open Se­nate seat. “It is not the mark of a com­man­der-in-chief to be bad-mouthing our mil­i­tary.”

Af­ter speak­ing to the Na­tional Guard Don­ald Trump speaks to the Na­tional Guard As­so­ci­a­tion of the United States con­ven­tion. Hil­lary Clin­ton, his Demo­cratic ri­val, was also in­vited to ap­pear but did not. group, Trump made an off-sched­ule visit to a diner in Dun­dalk — a for­mer Demo­cratic strong­hold that heav­ily sup­ported the busi­ness­man in the state’s Repub­li­can pri­mary in April.

Greeted with cheers of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” the New York busi­ness­man worked the ta­bles and sam­pled a ham­burger and crab cake with for­mer NewYork City Mayor Ru­dolph Gi­u­liani, for­mer Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., and oth­ers.

As ex­pected, Repub­li­can Gov. Larry Hogan did not at­tend ei­ther the Na­tional Guard event or the diner ap­pear­ance. Hogan has said he will not vote for Trump in Novem­ber.

State Del. Kathy Szeliga of Bal­ti­more County, the GOP nom­i­nee for the state’s Se­nate seat, was also ab­sent. Szeliga has said she will sup­port Trump be­cause he is her party’s nom­i­nee, but she has kept her dis­tance from him, and has dis­avowed his more con­tro­ver­sial re­marks.

Out­side the Na­tional Guard As­so­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence, about a hun­dred Trump sup­port­ers and pro­test­ers held signs and chanted down­town. Bal­ti­more po­lice said they made no ar­rests.

“Don­ald Trump is worth $4 bil­lion and he has a real record of do­ing and ac­com­plish­ing things,” said Dan McHugh, a Rockville man who came to Bal­ti­more to rally for Trump. “He will bring busi­nesses back to this coun­try be­cause he knows how to do it.”

Sharon Black, a Peo­ples Power Assem­bly or­ga­nizer, said pro­test­ers in­cluded young peo­ple, a punk-rock band, an an­ar­chist group and mem­bers of the gay, les­bian and trans­gen­der com­mu­nity.

“This guy rep­re­sents ev­ery­thing that’s hate­ful, ev­ery­thing about big­otry,” she said.

“Trump’s the fig­ure we’re protest­ing. But it’s re­ally those ideas he’s spawn­ing.”

BAR­BARA HAD­DOCK TAY­LOR/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

Don­ald Trump, the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, poses for a selfie with a sup­porter Mon­day at the Boule­vard Diner in Dun­dalk af­ter speak­ing to the Na­tional Guard As­so­ci­a­tion of the United States at the Bal­ti­more Con­ven­tion Cen­ter.

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

LLOYD FOX/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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