Donald Trump Delivers Speech Attacking Hillary Clinton As Corrupt

Jun 22, 2016
Originally published on June 22, 2016 7:41 pm
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Today Donald Trump did something Republicans have been hoping he would do for a long time - deliver a blistering, detailed attack against his opponent for the White House, Hillary Clinton. In a speech today in New York, Trump outlined various charges of corruption and questions about Clinton's judgment. We begin our coverage with NPR's Sarah McCammon.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: The thesis of Donald Trump's speech was simple.

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DONALD TRUMP: Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency of the United States.

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MCCAMMON: Trump spent plenty of time attacking Clinton's record on the economy and foreign policy. But the bulk of the speech was a laundry list of allegations. Trump has for weeks been referring to his rival as a crooked Hillary, though he avoided that moniker today.

Trump took aim at the Clinton Foundation, insinuating that countries that donated to the foundation got favorable treatment from her as secretary of state.

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TRUMP: Hillary took $25 million from Saudi Arabia and much more from others.

MCCAMMON: PolitiFact and The Washington Post have both reported that the Clinton Foundation accepted donations from Saudi Arabia after she left the State Department. Trump also brought up more familiar controversies.

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TRUMP: To cover up her corrupt dealings, Hillary illegally stashed her State Department emails on a private server.

MCCAMMON: The ongoing federal investigation into Clinton's private email server has been a drag on Clinton since before she even started running, though authorities have made no public determination about the server's legality.

A State Department inspector general report concluded that Clinton had not sought permission for the server, and officials would have denied it had she asked. And Trump suggested the Clintons are in the pocket of Wall Street.

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TRUMP: She made $21.6 million giving speeches to Wall Street banks and other special interests and, in less than two years, secret speeches that she does not want to reveal under any circumstances to the public. I wonder why.

MCCAMMON: According to CNN, relatively little of that money came from big banks. But it brings up a lingering line of attack from Clinton's primary opponent, Bernie Sanders. Clinton has not released transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs but also hasn't ruled out doing so eventually.

Trump also questioned her competence. He went after Clinton on a subject that has energized much of the Republican base - her handling of the attack on a diplomatic compound in Libya in 2012 which led to the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens.

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TRUMP: He was left helpless to die as Hillary Clinton soundly slept in her bed. That's right. When the phone rang at 3 o'clock in the morning, Hillary Clinton was sleeping.

MCCAMMON: Trump claimed that Stevens and his staff made hundreds of requests for more security which Clinton refused. Last year, Clinton faced a congressional committee and spoke of lost sleep over the attack. She said she'd relied on lower-level officials to make security decisions and had not personally denied any requests for more security at the compound.

Whatever inaccuracies Trump's speech contained, the larger message is one many of his fellow Republicans are anxious for him to start making - that Clinton's record is full of failure.

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TRUMP: Hillary Clinton's message is old and tired. Her message is that things can't change. My message is that things have to change.

MCCAMMON: In a week when Trump fired his campaign manager and has struggled in fundraising and the polls, the speech seemed designed to get the candidate on message and his campaign on track. Sarah McCammon, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.