Donald Trump attacks both Clintons to applause in Sacramento

Donald Trump addresses supporters at a rally in Sacramento.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Donald Trump suggested on Wednesday that he intended to wage a summer and fall campaign against both Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton, a one-two attack that drew cheers from a boisterous crowd here.

“These are crooked people,” said the presumptive Republican nominee. “They’ve been crooked from the beginning.”

Trump, who stepped off his private jet to a podium staged inside a hangar on the grounds of Sacramento International Airport, laid out a narrative of alleged mistakes both personal and professional by the Democratic front-runner and the former president.


Many of the jabs were thrown directly at the candidate’s husband, beginning with Trump’s familiar criticisms of the 42nd president signing the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, in 1993.

“Bill Clinton signed the single worst agreement ever made in terms of economic development,” Trump said. “It wiped out states, including your state.”

Trump told the crowd that 1 in 5 manufacturing jobs in the Sacramento area were lost as a result. But a subsequent review of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a drop of less than 6% in the region’s manufacturing workforce since 1992.

Trump also attacked the Clinton Foundation, calling it full of “pure theft and pure crookedness.”

But for most of this fifth visit to California in recent weeks, Trump aimed a litany of wide-ranging and personal attacks at Hillary Clinton.

“Hillary is not a talented person,” he said. “In fact, she’s a person with absolutely no natural talent.”


Trump mocked the former secretary of State’s 2008 campaign TV commercials touting her ability to take the “3 a.m. phone call,” claiming that Clinton “didn’t take 500-600 calls. They were calling and calling, and she was sleeping.”

Not far from the state Capitol, Trump asked the crowd whether they liked California Gov. Jerry Brown, the Democrat who just endorsed Clinton. The reaction: boos.

And the candidate made it clear he was ready to go toe-to-toe with President Obama on the campaign trail this fall as well.

“Well, if he campaigns, that means I’m allowed to hit him just like I hit Bill Clinton, right?” said Trump as the crowd cheered. Earlier in the day, Obama stepped up his messaging against the GOP.

The event came after a week of fresh criticism about the record of the now-defunct Trump University and about the lateness of donations he made to veterans groups.

Campaign staffers had already handed out “Veterans for Trump” posters for the crowd to hold before he arrived, and Trump pointed them out as he took aim at the news media.

“Hey, did I have a hard time?” Trump asked the crowd. “So I raised almost $6 million for the veterans and the press was killing me.”

As the crowd booed, he said, “You know, you do something like that and it takes your heart a little bit.”

The crowd began showing up as much as six hours early, and while Trump bragged that there were 11,000 people in attendance, a local TV station reported the hangar could accommodate only 2,500.

Law enforcement officials reported no major incidents. A few protesters were reported in the area where people lined up to enter, but it was decidedly calmer than Trump’s recent events in Southern California. The location of the event probably kept any would-be protesters at bay, given the remote spot was accessible only by a single road lined with California Highway Patrol officers.

The candidate, sporting one of his red “Make America Great Again” hats, received strong reviews from those in attendance.

“I just enjoyed the energy, and I like his message,” said Mario Moreno, a resident of Elk Grove.

Diana Peters of Sacramento said she thought that Trump would downsize the federal government, something she considered an important issue. “I think he’s a winner,” she said as she left the event.

Trump promised the crowd he would bring a general election campaign to California, a state no Republican has won for a generation. And even though he has no opposition left for the GOP nomination, Trump told the crowd it was important they send a signal in California’s primary next Tuesday.

“It’s really nice to have a mandate,” he said. “We’ll have a big, beautiful mandate, so that when we win, we win with strength.”

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