“Crooked Hillary” took on the “King of Debt” in a speech in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday, warning that the mogul was only out for himself and should not be trusted with managing the U.S. economy.
Throughout the blistering address, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton aimed to reduce Donald Trump, the Republican presumptive nominee, to a common con man whose golden escalator was made of brass and whose promises are worth as much as a degree from Trump University.
The Trump-focused onslaught was the first in a “one-two punch” of economic speeches, according to the Clinton campaign. The second will take place in Raleigh on Wednesday and will deal with Clinton’s “proactive vision for making an economy that works for every American, not just those at the top.”
But Tuesday was all about Trump.
“He calls himself the ‘King of Debt’,” Clinton said, referring to comment Trump made in an interview with Wolf Blitzer in May. “And his tax plan sure lives up to that name. According to the Independent Tax Policy Center, It would increase the national debt by more than $30 trillion over 20 years. That's trillion with a ‘t’... it's much, much more than any nominee than either party has ever proposed. An economist described it with words like, ‘not even in the universe of the realistic’.”
His plan for the economy? Dangerous.
His trade plan? Reckless.
His sterling business credentials? Fraudulent.
His clothing line? Made in China and Mexico.
“I'd love for him to explain how that fits with his talk of America First,” she quipped.
And then there are Trump’s four bankruptcies.
“A few days ago, he said, and I quote, ‘I'm going to do for the country what I did for my business,’” she said, setting up what would clearly be a jab. “So let's take a look at what he did for his business. He's written a lot of books about business. They all seem to end at Chapter 11. Go figure.”
And while the Clintons, themselves, have often been accused of playing by their own set of rules--Clinton’s speech attempted to turn that narrative right back to her Republican opponent (before he could use it against her).
“Over the years, he intentionally ran up huge amounts of debt on his companies and then he defaulted,” she said. “He bankrupted his companies not once, not twice, but four times. Hundreds of people lost their jobs; shareholders were wiped out; contractors, many of them small businesses, took heavy losses; many went bust. But Donald Trump, he came out fine.”
Trump, naturally, took all the criticism in stride.
Throughout the speech, Trump unleashed a series of tweets and nearly a dozen press releases, with varying levels of germaneness to the topic at hand (and perhaps a preview of his “anti-Clinton” speech tomorrow).
“I am "the king of debt."That has been great for me as a businessman, but is bad for the country. I made a fortune off of debt, will fix U.S,” he tweeted as she spoke.
The speech was also part of a sustained attack to define Trump as “unfit” for the presidency, which served the dual purpose of both bolstering her credentials and also tearing down Trump were he projects strength, specifically on issues like terrorism and the economy.
The location of the speech was no accident.
In Ohio, Trump is tied with Clinton, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll, in part because of his wide lead with white, male voters. The debate over trade deals could be particularly damaging to Clinton here, in an area where many feel like the North American Free Trade Agreement --negotiated by President George H.W. Bush but signed into law by President Bill Clinton--killed manufacturing jobs, particularly in the northern parts of the state.
Clinton made reference to these trade deals, calling for the ones deemed non-beneficial to Americans to be “renegotiated”--including the Trans Pacific Partnership, which she helped negotiate but ultimately decided not to support.
This may be one of the reasons Ohio voters trust Trump more than Clinton at this point - 44 - 37, respectively according to the Quinnipiac poll. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed also believe Trump when he tells them he’ll create jobs, compared to a lowly 39 percent who say they believe Clinton - a number she needs to shrink in the critical swing state.
To that end, Clinton warned Trump has “no real strategy for creating jobs...just a string of empty promises.” “But then maybe we shouldn't expect better from someone who's most famous words are ‘you're fired,’” she said.