Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump campaigned here Wednesday vowing to compete in three West Coast states the GOP has not carried since the 1980s, setting staggeringly high expectations for himself on terrain recent Republican nominees have all but ignored.
Speaking at a scorching-hot early evening rally at an airplane hangar, Trump proclaimed he would contest California, the state of Washington and, perhaps, even Oregon.
“Everybody said that for a Republican to run in California is not going to happen. But I’m sort of different,” Trump told the crowd, which he claimed numbered 11,000.
Trump has spent considerable time in California since effectively wrapping up the Republican nomination. The last Republican to carry the state was George H.W. Bush in 1998. In 2012, President Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney by 21 percentage points there. A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC/Marist poll showed Trump losing to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton by 24 points.
The last time Oregon and Washington went Republican was during the 1984 landslide in which Democrat Walter Mondale carried only his home state of Minnesota against Ronald Reagan.
“We’re going to work the state of Washington hard. We may even work Oregon hard,” said the mogul.
Trump took aim at Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, arguing their record on trade and foreign policy makes them wrong for California and the country. He mocked Hillary Clinton and called her a “person with absolutely no natural talent.”
Clinton, meanwhile, took aim at Trump on Wednesday over the scrutiny surrounding the now-defunct Trump University. Former employees and students have argued the institution was a scam.
Trump encouraged supporters to vote in the remaining primaries even though he has sewed up the GOP nomination, a departure from remarks last month when he told West Virginia backers not to vote.
He also took a shot at the PGA for moving a golf tournament from his course in Miami to Mexico. He suggested that he would seek retribution against the PGA and others who have crossed him if he is elected president.
“Folks, its all going to be settled,” he said.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Sean Sullivan