ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — In a span of 10 minutes, Donald Trump both blamed the media for working against him and used their reporting to bolster his attacks on Hillary Clinton during a rally here Monday.
Citing a new “front page” report from the Wall Street Journal, Trump lobbed a new attack against Clinton that included “shocking new revelations” that Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe’s political action committee donated money toward the campaign of Dr. Jill McGabe, the spouse of the FBI official who later oversaw the investigation into Clinton’s email server.
Both the FBI and a spokesman for the Virginia governor denied any political motive behind the donations.
“It just came out,” Trump teased, seeming to applaud the reporting. “They just figured it out.”
But all that was forgotten just a few minutes later, when Trump called the press “thieves and cooks.” Not all, he hedged, “but much of it.”
He then continued on a long-winded diatribe against the press, who he has singled out in recent weeks as one of his main campaign foes this election cycle.
“The media isn’t just against me, they’re against you,” Trump exclaimed. “That’s really what they’re against. They’re not against me, they’re against what we represent. Like Hillary Clinton, they look down on the hard working people of the country, that’s what’s happened. The media is entitled , condescending, and even contemptuous of the people who don’t share their elitist views.”
The crowd excitedly turned and booed the press, training their sights on those of us sitting amid the rows in the open-air amphitheater.
The Republican nominee promised that if elected he would be the voice of the people, a voice that would “boom through the halls of Washington” and prove that this election would be “bigger than Brexit.”
That is, of course, if Mr. Trump pulls off a win 15 days from now. The polls he once held in such high esteem and gleefully spouted from his podium during the primary have now drawn his ire and wary eye. In fact, the GOP nominee has spent much of his dwindling time on the trail disparaging polls that show him down. Of late, Trump has begun decrying the polling practice of “oversampling” calling it a tactic of voter suppression. “It’s called voter suppression,” Trump extrapolated of the goals of oversampling. “Because people will say ‘oh gee, Trump’s out.’ We’re winning, we’re winning.”
In actuality, oversampling is standard practice for pollsters and can give a deeper look into larger groups of voters.
But Trump cautioned of underestimating him, as some did during the primary process. “Remember what he said?” Trump reflected on President Obama’s nay-saying in the early part of the this year. Mocking the president, Trump mimed, “Donald Trump will never win the Republican primary, he will never do it, sorry. Sorry, he will never win. The Republicans will never do that. Well, they did that. Sorry.”
Trump’s speech – as usual – was filled with attacks for opponents. But he did come stocked with new ideas, rehashing Saturday’s Gettysburg speech where he laid out over two dozen policy plans for what the first hundred days of his administration would look like.
Amid laying out his plans, Trump lamented the state of America’s infrastructure. Concerned over the state of our bridges, Trump decided “I’m going to start swimming across rivers and lakes, I don’t want to drive.”
Later at a rally in Tampa, Trump went out of his way to defend himself against attacks linking him to Russia — but then defended Russian President Vladimir Putin against the same attacks from other politicians.
Trump promised he had “nothing to do with Russia,” and was even willing to provide a written statement on the issue.
Yet in his next breath he defended Putin against attacks from fellow American politicians. “They say such bad things about Putin,” he lamented. “And then they’re supposed to negotiate with Putin? Why would he do this?”
Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, resigned amid reports about his dealings with Russia and Ukraine.