Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump fired back at his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, calling her a “world class liar” in his first major speech of the general election for the White House.
Reading from a teleprompter, Trump went on to say Clinton was the “most corrupt” person ever to run for the White House and that she had“perfected the art of politics of personal theft”.
Clinton had called him the “King of Debt” in a speech on Tuesday, slamming his business experience, his strong suit, and practices in what her campaign said was “Evisceration Part II”.
Part I came some days ago when Clinton questioned his foreign policy credentials, or the lack of them, and remarks that have left his own party supporters and surrogates squirming.
Trump, who prides himself as a counter-puncher, had let that attack pass with remarkably low intensity push back. But he counter-tweeted Clinton’s Tuesday speech live.
He hit back full on on Wednesday in a speech replete with insults and questionable claims and facts, but one that was the kind of disciplined attack Republicans had long wanted of him.
After wrapping up the nomination weeks before Clinton, Trump was widely seen to have squandered the advantage by embroiling himself in one controversy after another with his remarks.
Trump lashed back at Clinton, attacking her on expected lines — paid speeches, Benghazi, use of a private email server as secretary of state, and her behaviour in White House as the first lady.
“Her decisions spread death, destruction and terrorism everywhere she touched,” he said of Clinton’s term as secretary of state, which, he added, cost thousands of American lives.
He also defended his own business record, which has recently come under close scrutiny, with reports about his refusal to pay his bills, and bankrupting companies to bail on debtors.
Calling him the “King of Debt”, Clinton said Tuesday, “Maybe we shouldn't expect better from someone whose most famous words are 'you're fired’.”
And referring to his books, which he likes to boast about, Clinton said, “He’s written a lot of books about business. They all seem to end at chapter 11 (the bankruptcy clause).”
Trump defended himself on Wednesday, saying, “I have always had a talent for building businesses and, importantly, creating jobs…That is a talent our country desperately needs.”
He went to talk about how he built a company worth billions starting out with a $1 million loan from his father, which he tends to call small.