With the primaries for both parties over, presumptive nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are in their corners and getting ready to rumble. And, with 138 days to go until the November 8 election, it looks like it's going to be a rough ride. Trump went on the offensive Wednesday in an aggressive speech that accused the Democrat of a smorgasbord of offenses. But perhaps the biggest shock was his appeal to voters across the aisle — namely, former Bernie Sanders supporters. "The insiders wrote the rules of the game to keep themselves in power and in the money," he said. "That’s why we’re asking Bernie Sanders’ voters to join our movement: so together we can fix the system for all Americans." The appeal — and barrage of attacks — comes in the middle of a bad run for Trump. Campaign finance filings submitted Monday showed him trailing Clinton by more than $40 million as he entered the month. He fired his controversial campaign manager. And he's still dealing with the serious backlash over his response to the Orlando massacre. But by midday Tuesday, it was clear Trump was trying to pivot and turn the narrative in his favor. He dismissed concerns about his paltry campaign war chest, saying fundraising is no concern when he can pour his own wealth into his bid for the White House (Trump claims to be worth $10 billion, but most outside estimates peg him at less than half that.) He fired his campaign manager, and then flooded reporter inboxes with releases announcing a slew of new hires, supporters, and endorsements. And he announced the upcoming launch of a new website, LyingCrookedHillary.com, which he said will "showcase some of Clinton’s most disastrous lies to the American people." A placeholder page at the URL requires viewers to text the campaign to get "exclusive access" to the site, a move that allows Trump's operation to collect phone numbers to send updates and fundraising pleas as the campaign rolls on.
Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.
Wednesday's speech, delivered to a room of reporters and supporters at The Trump SoHo Hotel, served as a preview of sorts for the types of attacks expected to surface on that website. Calling her a "world-class liar," the GOP presidential hopeful accused his opponent of everything from running the State Department "as a hedge fund" for her own profit to being personally responsible for the rise of the Islamic State group in the Middle East. "Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency," he said. In email responses to Trump's remarks, the Clinton campaign called the speech "full of lies," and pointed out that a similar claim by Jeb Bush had been debunked by Politifact back in 2015. The New York Times, fact-checking the speech, also disputed several claims that the former secretary of state had inappropriately profited from her term in office. Clinton, for her part, threw several jabs at Trump on Tuesday, blasting her rival on his record in business and positions on everything from the minimum wage to climate change. When it came to wooing Sanders supporters on the left, Trump steered clear of the major tenets of the Vermont senator's platform — such as income inequality, a living wage, or student debt. Instead, he adhered to GOP talking points like immigration, terrorism, and Clinton's purported scandals around Benghazi and her email server. It doesn't seem like Sanders is likely to be much enthused by Trump's claim to his supporters, either. In a livestreamed address last week, Sanders told his supporters that the "major political goal" of the near future was to defeat Trump. Sanders, who has not suspended his campaign, said that he planned to work with Clinton to create a more progressive Democratic party and focus on defeating the businessman. "We do not need a major party candidate who makes bigotry a major part of his campaign," he said.