Clin­ton: Econ­omy no busi­ness of Trump

She rips her ri­val for run­ning on his cor­po­rate record

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By Lisa Lerer and Jill Colvin

WASH­ING­TON — His pres­i­den­tial dreams in­creas­ingly in jeop­ardy, Don­ald Trump pushed his busi­ness em­pire to the cen­ter of his po­lit­i­cal cam­paign Wed­nes­day. Tak­ing a brief break from bat­tle­ground states, he made the case at his new­est ho­tel that all Amer­i­cans should look to his cor­po­rate record for ev­i­dence of how well he’d run the coun­try.

Hil­lary Clin­ton agreed, but not the way he meant it. She used cam­paign events in Florida to at­tack the GOP nom­i­nee for hav­ing “stiffed Amer­i­can work­ers,” say­ing he built his em­pire with Chi­nese- man­u­fac­tured steel, over­seas prod­ucts and la­bor from im­mi­grants in the coun­try il­le­gally.

“Don­ald Trump is the poster boy for ev­ery­thing wrong with our econ­omy,” she told sev­eral thou­sand sup­port­ers in Tampa, Fla. “He re­fuses to pay work­ers and con­trac­tors.”

Trump’s po­lit­i­cal as­pira- tions have long been deeply in­ter­twined with pro­mot­ing his cor­po­rate goals. He an­nounced his cam­paign in the gilded lobby of Trump Tower in Man­hat­tan and has held dozens of cam­paign events at his own prop­er­ties. His re­marks at his new Wash­ing­ton ho­tel, which has strug­gled to fill rooms amid the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing his pres­i­den­tial bid, fol­lowed a visit Tues­day to his Do­ral golf course out­side Miami.

“Un­der bud­get and ahead of sched­ule. So im­por­tant. We don’t hear those words so of­ten, but you will,” said Trump, link­ing the ho­tel re­de­vel­op­ment — just blocks from the White House — to his promised per­for­mance as pres­i­dent. “To­day is a metaphor for what we can ac­com­plish for this coun­try.”

Though the GOP nom­i­nee fo­cused his re­marks on his po­lit­i­cal message, the event was heavy with mar­ket­ing, too. Stand­ing un­der glit­ter­ing chan­de­liers, top com­pany ex­ec­u­tives, in­clud­ing his daugh­ter, touted the ho­tel. And af­ter his brief speech, Trump and his fam­ily headed to the ho­tel’s grand lobby where they cut a wide red rib­bon with golden scis­sors be­fore he flew to Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump took a brief break from cam­paign­ing Wed­nes­day to tout his busi­ness em­pire. North Carolina for what his cam­paign billed as an ur­ban­pol­icy speech.

In Char­lotte, Trump un­veiled what he billed a “New Deal for black Amer­ica” in front of a mostly white crowd. Trump, who has strug­gled to earn the sup­port of mi­nor­ity vot­ers, be­moaned that “too many African-Amer­i­cans have been left be­hind” and un­veiled a hand­ful of new pro­pos­als aimed at re­vi­tal­iz­ing im­pov­er­ished ur­ban ar­eas.

They in­cluded new tax in­cen­tives for in­ner cities, new mi­cro-loans for Afri- Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton, who turned 69 on Wed­nes­day, said Trump “stiffed Amer­i­can work­ers.” can-Amer­i­cans to start com­pa­nies and hire work­ers and rein­vest­ing money from sus­pended refugee pro­grams in in­ner cities.

He also wants cities to be able to seek fed­eral dis­as­ter des­ig­na­tions to help them re­build in­fra­struc­ture, de­mol­ish aban­doned build­ings and in­vest in law en­force­ment.

As Trump cut the rib­bon at his ho­tel, Clin­ton was slamming his busi­ness prac­tices in Florida, a state he must win to have any chance on Nov. 8.

Trump’s un­usual travel sched­ule, com­ing amid signs that the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing his cam­paign has hurt his cor­po­rate brand, raises ques­tions about whether the GOP nom­i­nee has be­gun to turn some of his fo­cus to post­elec­tion plans.

Rooms at the over­hauled $212 mil­lion ho­tel that bears his name at Wash­ing­ton’s Old Post Of­fice Pav­il­ion have been heav­ily dis­counted, and smart­phone data sug­gest fewer peo­ple are vis­it­ing his prop­er­ties com­pared to ri­val venues. A new Face­book live show pro­duced by his cam­paign has height­ened spec­u­la­tion that he may try and off­set any losses with ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enue from a new­me­dia net­work — a plan he de­nies.

Trump sup­port­ers de­fended his strat­egy, blast­ing crit­ics for not mak­ing as big a deal of Clin­ton’s de­ci­sion to at­tend an Adele con­cert Tues­day night. Trump­took a break from cam­paign­ing to see the singer per­form dur­ing the GOP pri­maries.

“I can’t take one hour off to cut a rib­bon at one of the great ho­tels of the world? I mean, I think I’m en­ti­tled to it,” he said in an in­ter­view with ABC News. He was more de­fen­sive in a CNN in­ter­view in which he called ques­tions about his time away from swing state-cam­paign­ing “in­sult­ing” and “rude.”

In Char­lotte, Trump said that he’d wanted to be at the ho­tel cer­e­mony “for my chil­dren who worked so hard.”

Clin­ton told re­porters: “I was struck to­day that Don­ald Trump was pay­ing more at­ten­tion to his busi­ness than to the cam­paign.”

Wed­nes­day was Clin­ton’s 69th birth­day. In her ap­pear­ance on “The Break­fast Club” syn­di­cated ra­dio show pop­u­lar with AfricanAmer­i­can vot­ers, singer Ste­vie Won­der ser­e­naded the woman he called “Madam Pres­i­dent Clin­ton.”

Mean­while, Los An­ge­les po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing a pre-dawn at­tack that de­stroyed Trump’s star on the Hol­ly­wood Walk of Fame.

A man who iden­ti­fied him­self as Jamie Otis said he’s re­spon­si­ble for the dam­age, telling the web­site Dead­line Hol­ly­wood that he orig­i­nally in­tended to re­move Trump’s star.

He says he wanted to auc­tion it off to raise funds for the 11 women ac­cus­ing the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of grop­ing them. Trump has de­nied the al­le­ga­tions.

OLIVIER DOULIERY/ABACA PRESS

CRIS­TO­BAL HER­RERA/EPA

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