He’s been teasing it for months now, through the tough primary contest, and now Donald Trump has begun to unleash on Hillary Clinton. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is hitting back.
Preemptive Moves from Both Candidates
In an interesting tactic, Trump chose to preemptively counter punch Clinton’s likely counter-attack, a criticism of Trump’s lack of foreign policy experience. Trump called a recent foreign policy speech by the former Secretary of State full of “lies”, and he blasted Clinton for her scandals and failings, saying the Democrat should not even be allowed to run.
Trump said Clinton’s work as Secretary of State made the Middle East a more dangerous place, and he criticized her support of the Iraq War and military action in Libya in 2011.
Then Trump got personal, calling Clinton a person with “no actual talent,” before resurrecting his criticism of Jeb Bush, saying Clinton was (also) low energy. “All you have to do is watch her speak…this is not a president.”
Meanwhile, Clinton took every opportunity to bash Trump, repeatedly pounding Trump regarding the class action suit involving Trump University, saying this case is “more evidence Donald Trump himself is a fraud.”
Trump ignored these attacks on his character, preferring to keep on message about Clinton’s perceived failings. Trump also seems excited about the potential opportunity to go after President Obama, saying, “If he campaigns, that means I’m allowed to hit him just like I hit Bill Clinton…He wants to keep this terrible agenda going…”
Mudslinging as Politicking
Neither candidate got much beyond surface and personal attacks, and neither really hit what some voters are hoping to hear. More on Clinton about Benghazi and more on Trump about his flip-flopping on policy positions. These accusations – that Trump is faking, and that Clinton is inept – will likely come, but the candidates are holding them back at the moment.
The question, from a PR perspective, is what impact will this barrage have on the minds and hearts of voters. Hillary is sure to hit back, and Trump is known as a counter-puncher, so that may be a better indicator. So far, Trump is moving much closer to Clinton in the polls. Should be interesting to see which undecideds and independents listen to whom.