CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Less than halfway through Donald Trump’s remarks, his Teleprompters had been dismantled. It was Trump himself who did it.
The GOP nominee admitted about 20 minutes into his speech that the Teleprompters he once spoke so harshly of against weren’t working. “Get these out of here,” he decided before unsurprisingly adding: "I like it better without the Teleprompters.” Trump then physically shook one of the stands himself, knocking the glass panel out of the top of it. Moments later, he rid himself of the other one.
The shackles were literally off.
"It’s sort of cooler without" the prompters, Trump said in a slightly questioning tone. Shouts of "yes" and applause rang out from his supporters.
Trump retold advice he’d been given by past and current advisors that now that he was in the general election he should be using prompters.
"Why should I when they don’t work?" as if finally finding an excuse to bail on the habit he’d been forced by those around him to accept.
Moments later, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, one of the advisers behind the push to be more presidential during the general, told NBC News that despite the downing of the prompters “at least he’s still out with voters.” She declined to answer questions about the multiple sexual assault allegations leveled against her candidate who was speaking on the stage.
But Trump spoke about the allegations and continued his scorched Earth self-defense.
Claiming that the women coming forward alleging sexual assault by the nominee were fueled by monetary, personal, or political motives, Trump called it a “character assassination” coordinated by the Clinton campaign.
"That’s her specialty," Trump said of Clinton. "She’s been doing it her whole career."
Trump called himself “a victim of one of the great political smear campaigns in the history of our country."
Amid the "tens of thousands" of people Trump says he’s met, "it’s not hard to find a small handful of people willing to make false smears for personal fame, who knows, maybe for financial reasons, political purposes, or the simple reason they want to stop our movement."
He went on to say the "claims defy reason, truth, logic, common sense" and lack witnesses.
Before Trump took the stage, his campaign offered the New York Post an exclusive interview with a man claiming to have been on an early 1980s flight with one of the women who has accused Trump, and he told the paper no assault occurred — citing his "good photographic memory."
The claim is question was from Jessica Leeds, who told The New York Times this week that Trump groped and kissed her on an airplane in first class decades ago.
A Trump campaign aide told NBC News that the interview by the Post was the evidence Gov. Mike Pence and Trump had alluded to both Friday morning and over the course of the week. There would be more to come, the aide promised.
Further trying to deny the claims against him, which have grown in number by the day, Trump told the crowd "not me, believe me, not me" and he said he wouldn’t do those things.
"You be very impressed, actually, with my life in so many regards — including that regard," Trump said.
Trump complained about not only his prompters, but the speakers in the event space not working. But in the end, the faulty equipment didn’t matter as much as his own performance. “As long as Trump was good, that’s all that matters,” he said.