Trump: ‘I am the law and order candidate’

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday declared himself the “law and order candidate” while criticizing Hillary Clinton over the private email she used while secretary of State.

{mosads}”I am the law and order candidate,” Trump said at the top of his speech in Virginia Beach, Va., which was billed as a policy speech focused on veterans issues but included some of his sharpest attacks to date on Clinton, his likely general election opponent.

“I’m also the candidate of compassion — believe it,” Trump added. “But you can’t have true compassion without providing safety,” he continued. “Without safety, we have nothing.”

Trump described Clinton as “weak, ineffective, pandering” and said an investigation into her handling of classified material shows she is “either a liar or grossly incompetent.” 

“One or the other. Very simple,” Trump said, adding, “Personally, it’s probably both.”

Trump’s focus on the email issue came one day before Attorney General Loretta Lynch was slated to testify Tuesday before a House committee, kicking off a second week of GOP questioning over the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s email arrangement.

FBI Director James Comey last week said Clinton and her aides were “extremely careless” with classified information but said he couldn’t justify recommending criminal charges against her.

“This was not just extreme carelessness with classified material,” Trump said. “This is calculated, deliberate, premeditated misconduct followed by a cover up that included false statements and lies to Congress, the media and the American people.”

Trump’s speech was the latest carefully scripted event from the businessman as he works to calm nervous Republicans about his ability to mount a disciplined general election campaign. 

During the speech, Trump outlined 10 strategies to streamline the Department of Veterans Affairs — including proposing a White House hotline he said he’d answer personally if necessary — while contrasting his ideas with those from “crooked Hillary Clinton,” whom he called “the secretary of the status quo.”

The brunt of his attacks, however, were aimed at Clinton’s email server and the refusal of federal officials to pursue a criminal case.

“What she did was so wrong,” Trump said, adding that people who did “far less” were “paying a tremendous price right now.”

“Her conduct was willful, intentional and unlawful,” Trump said. “She knew it. She’s probably the most surprised person that she was able to get away with it.”

“The fact that she got away with all of this could be her single most impressive accomplishment,” Trump said to laughs. “To me it is. It’s her greatest accomplishment.”

Trump also said Clinton would be the first president elected who “wouldn’t be able to pass a background check.”

“Come November, the American people will show her that she is not above the law,” Trump said.

Allies of Clinton also offered criticism of Trump timed to coincide with his speech. 

Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) and Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), both Iraq War veterans, slammed Trump over a series of statements they said showed he doesn’t care for veterans, while also dismissing his plan for allowing privatization of VA care.

Gallego said it was “absolutely shameful” for Trump to question Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) status as a war hero, while Moulton called Trump’s remarks about Saddam Hussein’s record on killing terrorists “unbelievably insulting” given the late leader’s brutal actions in Iraq.

Clinton also sought to escalate her attacks on Trump, with her campaign releasing a video Monday of Trump praising “powerful and dangerous dictators” including Hussein and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

–This report was updated at 4:11 p.m.


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