GOFFSTOWN, N.H. – Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump each launched fresh attacks against the other on Monday, signaling that harshly negative closing arguments may dominate the final two weeks of the campaign.
Clinton’s campaign tried to build on its case that Trump doesn’t respect women, while Trump again questioned the integrity of the election process – this time asserting that polls showing Clinton ahead across the country are “phony” and “rigged.”
Perhaps the most intense rhetoric of the day came from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., one of Clinton’s top allies, who said Trump’s disregard for women would be his undoing in the election. As Trump continued to suggest that he might not accept a Clinton victory on Nov. 8, Warren seemed to revel in the role that women may play not only in defeating him but also in electing the first female president in the nation’s history.
“I’ve got news for you, Donald Trump,” Warren said, standing on a windswept stage in this college town alongside Clinton and U.S. Senate candidate Maggie Hassan – and riffing on Trump’s reference to Clinton as a “nasty woman” during their third presidential debate. “Women have had it with guys like you. And nasty women have really had it with guys like you. Yeah, get this, Donald: Nasty women are tough, nasty women are smart, and nasty women vote.”
Although the Clinton campaign has been working for weeks to portray Trump as a misogynist, allies and surrogates jumped on his latest utterance to continue the effort. Pop star Katy Perry wore a T-shirt emblazoned with “Nasty Woman” while knocking on dormitory doors at George Mason University in the Washington suburbs. Other merchandise, including cross-stitch pillows and coffee mugs, popped up for sale on the internet.
With just 15 days left until Election Day, Trump spent Monday in Florida, telling supporters that the national media has deliberately skewed polls to undermine his candidacy and that he is actually winning.
During a discussion with farmers at Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market in Boynton Beach, Florida, Trump devoted nearly half of his seven-minute public remarks to criticizing news media.
“I believe we’re actually winning,” he said, speaking in a thatched-roof structure adorned with decorative gourds. He asserted that the majority of public opinion polls, which show Clinton leading nationally and in most battleground states, reflect the “crooked system, the rigged system I’ve been talking about since I entered the race.”
“What they do is they show these phony polls where they look at Democrats, and it’s heavily weighted with Democrats, and then they’ll put on a poll where we’re not winning, and everybody says, ‘Oh they’re not winning,’ ” he added.
Trump said Monday that he trusts the two polls that have shown him leading – Investor’s Business Daily and Rasmussen – as more reliable.
Later Monday, as Trump campaigned in St. Augustine, Florida, his supporters said they were unfazed by Trump’s “nasty woman” comment or Warren’s attempts to raise it.
“Pocahontas has lied before,” said Cleta Van Horn, 78, of St. Augustine, referring to a disparaging nickname Trump often applies to the senator from Massachusetts.
Trump on Monday also addressed the latest accusations of inappropriate sexual contact made against him.
Calling into WGIR radio’s “New Hampshire Today,” Trump characterized the allegations against him as “total fiction,” including the behavior alleged by Jessica Drake. On Saturday, the adult film performer accused Trump of grabbing her and kissing her without permission and offering her money to go up to his hotel room about a decade ago.
“She’s a porn star,” Trump said. “You know, this one that came out recently, ‘he grabbed me and he grabbed me on the arm.’ Oh, I’m sure she’s never been grabbed before.”
Trump also seized on a Wall Street Journal report that the political action committee of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a leading Clinton supporter, gave $452,500 to a Virginia state Senate candidate last year.
The candidate, Jill McCabe of Loudoun County, Virginia, is married to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who oversaw the bureau’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Trump called the donations “absolutely disgraceful” and alleged that “Hillary knew this money was being paid.”
Aides to McAuliffe and others said Monday that the timeline of events was inconsistent with any suggestion of wrongdoing.