Fresh from a commanding victory in the New York Republican primary, Donald Trump on Wednesday homed in on Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, saying he looks forward to facing the former secretary of state and knocking her for unspecified wrongdoings.
“You know, we are going to beat crooked Hillary,” he said smiling. “Crooked Hillary Clinton does not have a chance. She’s not bringing jobs back. She doesn’t know about the economy. She makes bad decisions. You know what Bernie Sanders said about her twice, you know that. Number one, he said, she wasn’t qualified … but he said bad judgment, she’s got bad judgment.”
“It is going to be something that you’re going to watch and really enjoy watching,” Trump said in another instance, which drew cheers from the crowd of 1,500 at the rally.
Trump has regularly attacked Clinton for using a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state, which he says compromised national security. He said Wednesday that he believes she is being “protected,” though he did not specify by whom, and added that he would consider investigating her “a second time” if elected president.
Both Clinton and Trump – increasingly poised to face one another in the general election – have escalated their direct critiques of one another in recent days. Trump regularly knocks Clinton on the trail and recently gave her the moniker, “Crooked Hillary,” which he has repeated continually in recent days. He said that many people have “suffered dearly for doing just a small fraction of what she did.”
“Frankly, she should not be allowed to run for president. What she’s done is terrible,” he told a crowd here in Berlin, Maryaland, where voters will cast ballots Tuesday. “[I]n a certain way I am happy about it, because we are going to beat her so bad.”
But Trump still has a primary on his hands, and he has continually railed against members of the GOP establishment who are uncomfortable with him becoming the party’s standard-bearer. Anti-Trump conservatives hope to deny Trump the nomination through a contested convention in July, which would rest on preventing Trump from earning the 1,237 national delegates necessary to clinch the nomination outright.
The billionaire has called the process “rigged” and “fixed,” while his detractors say the delegate system has been in place for generations. Trump has specifically targeted the Republican National Committee – which remains publicly neutral in the primary – for not moving to change the system.
Trump has reshuffled his campaign staff in recent weeks, enlisting the help of veteran political strategists and installing longtime GOP strategist Paul Manafort as “convention manager,” empowering him with many of the responsibilities previously assigned to campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
The campaign is bullish that Trump will be able to win the nomination directly, and the billionaire and his team were encouraged by the victory in New York. An internal memorandum circulated to campaign surrogates Tuesday night shows that they hope to win as many as 1,400 pledged delegates at the GOP convention in Cleveland in July.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Jose A. DelReal