Donald Trump marked the real start of his general-election campaign Wednesday with a full-bore attack on Hillary Clinton and a clear appeal to Americans across the spectrum.
He slammed her, accurately, as a “world-class liar” who’s part of the “rigged system” that boosts “insiders” like her at the expense of the common good.
And he vowed to end the inside game while reaching out even to Bernie Sanders supporters.
He talked issues Americans of all political persuasions really care about, starting with, as he put it, “jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Trump laid out how the “special-interest monopoly” has ruled Washington at the expense of everyday citizens. He vowed to end that culture and make government work for the people.
“We will never be able to fix a rigged system by counting on the same people who rigged it in the first place,” Trump said.
And he bashed “insiders” — like Clinton — who “wrote the rules of the game to keep themselves in power and in the money.”
That describes her record to a T. And it explains why Trump is appealing to Sanders voters — in fact to working-class voters of all races.
He talked of ending “unfairness” by putting American workers first. He’d lower taxes “for everyone,” “repeal and replace ObamaCare — a job-killing disaster” and roll back restrictions on energy production.
“New factories will come roaring into our country — breathing life and hope into our communities,” Trump said. “Inner cities, which have been horribly abused by Hillary Clinton and the Democrat Party, will finally be rebuilt.”
And his devastating smackdown of Clinton’s record gave his speech added oomph.
Trump recounted her role as secretary of state in paving the way for ISIS’s rise and a resurgence in violence in Iraq and beyond.
When she took office, he also noted, “Iran was being choked by sanctions”; now it’s “the dominant Islamic power in the Middle East, and on the road to nuclear weapons.”
He noted her history of lies and how she’s beholden to the Wall Street fat cats and barbaric foreign governments that have given her, her husband and their family foundation hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit — and theft,” Trump said. “She ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund, doing favors for oppressive regimes, and many others, in exchange for cash.”
All absolutely true.
Yet “she believes she’s entitled to the office” of president — indeed, she’s so self-obsessed that her campaign slogan is “I’m with her.”
His response: “I’m with you: the American people.”
If he wins, “Americans are going to start believing in the future of our country.”
From start to finish, it was a thundering attack on his opponent — but also a thundering demand for change that can unite core Trump voters, regular Republicans and all Americans who know the country’s gone off track.
If Trump can keep driving his message through to the voters this way, past all the establishment noise, he’ll be moving into the White House come January.