GOP hope­ful for new mo­men­tum

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY SETH MCLAUGH­LIN

Don­ald Trump moved to make the race for the White House a ref­er­en­dum on Hil­lary Clin­ton, say­ing his Demo­cratic ri­val has padded her pock­ets at the ex­pense of Amer­i­cans and the se­cu­rity of the na­tion, as the pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee looked to get his cam­paign back on track af­ter a try­ing stretch.

Seek­ing to shift the dis­cus­sion from his pal­try fundrais­ing, cam­paign shake-up and shaky poll num­bers, Mr. Trump launched a sear­ing as­sault on Mrs. Clin­ton, call­ing her a “world-class liar,” ac­cus­ing her of desta­bi­liz­ing the Mid­dle East and charg­ing that she and her hus­band, for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, have prof­ited off the mis­ery of Amer­i­cans.

“She gets rich mak­ing you poor,” Mr. Trump said.

He later charged that “Hil­lary Clin­ton may be the most cor­rupt per­son ever to seek the pres­i­dency.”

The speech marked Mr. Trump’s first ad­dress since he fired cam­paign man­ager Corey Le­wandowski and re­placed him with Paul Manafort, a vet­eran Repub­li­can po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tive who had served as Mr. Trump’s cam­paign chair­man since May.

Repub­li­can lead­ers are hop­ing the shakeup sig­nals that Mr. Trump is in the midst of the sort of gen­eral elec­tion pivot that they have been call­ing for since he chased the last of his ri­vals from the nom­i­nat­ing con­tests more than a month ago.

Mean­while, Repub­li­cans have dis­tanced them­selves from Mr. Trump’s crit­i­cism of a fed­eral judge over­see­ing a case in­volv­ing Trump Uni­ver­sity, as well as his push for a pro­posed tem­po­rary ban on Mus­lims en­ter­ing the United States in the wake of the mass shoot­ing in Or­lando, Florida.

More alarm bells went off af­ter cam­paign fi­nance re­ports showed that Mr. Trump had raised $1.3 mil­lion through the end of May, com­pared with more than $40 mil­lion for Mrs. Clin­ton.

Repub­li­can strate­gists, how­ever, said the Trump camp made a course cor­rec­tion by fo­cus­ing on Mrs. Clin­ton’s record.

“The sign on Manafort’s desk should read: ‘It’s Hil­lary, stupid.’ Her un­fa­vor­ables are that high,” said Repub­li­can strate­gist Kevin Sheri­dan. “Today wasn’t a bad start, but it comes af­ter six wasted weeks. Stop the con­spir­acy the­o­ries and racial dem­a­goguery, and get se­ri­ous.”

Mrs. Clin­ton’s camp dis­missed Mr. Trump’s com­ments, say­ing it “was full of lies” and raised “nutty con­spir­acy the­o­ries” and “de­bunked claims.”

The pre­sump­tive Demo­cratic nom­i­nee has been ramp­ing up her at­tacks against Mr. Trump and said last Wed­nes­day that his eco­nomic plan re­lies on “reck­less ideas that will run up our debt and cause another eco­nomic crash.”

Mr. Trump coun­tered in his speech that he has “al­ways had a tal­ent for build­ing busi­nesses and, im­por­tantly, cre­at­ing jobs.”

“That is a tal­ent our coun­try des­per­ately needs,” the bil­lion­aire real es­tate mogul said.

Mr. Trump said Mrs. Clin­ton’s use of a pri­vate email server as sec­re­tary of state has put the na­tion in dan­ger and that she has “per­fected the pol­i­tics of per­sonal profit and theft.”

He said she has sup­ported trade deals — in­clud­ing the 1994 North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment ef­fected by her hus­band — that have ben­e­fited big busi­nesses and for­eign coun­tries and hurt the work­ing class.

Her “rad­i­cal” im­mi­gra­tion plan, which in­cludes a path­way to cit­i­zen­ship for il­le­gal im­mi­grants, will be more of the same, he said.

“Hil­lary’s Wall Street im­mi­gra­tion agenda will keep im­mi­grant com­mu­ni­ties poor and un­em­ployed Amer­i­cans out of work,” Mr. Trump said. “She can’t claim to care about African-Amer­i­can and His­panic work­ers when she wants to bring in mil­lions of new low-wage work­ers to com­pete against them.”

On for­eign pol­icy, he blamed Mrs. Clin­ton for the emer­gence of the Is­lamic State and the death of J. Christo­pher Stevens, the U.S. am­bas­sador who died dur­ing the 2012 ter­ror­ist at­tack on the U.S. diplo­matic com­pound in Beng­hazi, Libya.

“In short, Hil­lary Clin­ton’s try­out for the pres­i­dency has pro­duced one deadly for­eign pol­icy dis­as­ter af­ter another,” he said, al­lud­ing to her ten­ure as sec­re­tary of state.

Repub­li­can an­a­lysts said Mr. Trump is smart to try to make the race about his ri­val.

“The big the­ory of the cam­paign is if this is a ref­er­en­dum on her, he is go­ing to win, and that is a good the­ory,” said Repub­li­can strate­gist Mike McKenna. “I be­lieve that is an ac­cu­rate state­ment of the world.

“If you can drive home that she is part of the cor­rup­tion and that the cor­rup­tion is part of what makes peo­ple poor in this coun­try, she is go­ing to be in a lot of trou­ble, be­cause she is al­ready the de­fender of the sta­tus quo,” he said.

Mr. Trump echoed that sen­ti­ment in his speech.

“Her cam­paign slo­gan is ‘I’m with her,’” Mr. Trump said. “You know what my re­sponse to that is? I’m with you, the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

“She thinks it’s all about her,” he said. “I know it’s all about you — I know it’s all about mak­ing Amer­ica great again for all Amer­i­cans.”

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