ROANOKE, Va. — Monday brought the Trump Pence ticket back on the trail together for the first time since the Republican Convention — and into Sen. Tim Kaine’s backyard.
Campaigning in the newly picked Democratic VP candidate's home state, Donald Trump came armed with barbs against Clinton, Kaine, and former DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schutlz.
“Debbie. Wasserman. Schultz,” Trump said, emphasizing each piece of her name. “I always knew she was highly overrated!” The GOP nominee went on to brand her resignation as a sign of Hillary Clinton’s disloyalty.
“There’s no loyalty there, right?” Trump said. “It gets a little heat and they fire her.” While Trump riffed about loyalty, a member of the crowd re-appropriated an often heard line at Trump rallies. “Lock ‘em all up!” a voice cheered.
Trump also seized on leaked emails that showed DNC officials questioning Sen. Bernie Sanders’ faith, saying that if it were him it’d be on the “front page of every newspaper.” Throughout the primaries, however, Trump repeatedly questioned former rivals religious beliefs.
But when it came to the leaks in question, Trump laid blame on foreign countries – with some presumably sarcastic and cavalier language. Speaking about Clinton, Trump said “little did she know that China, Russia, one of our many, many friends came in and hacked the hell out of us. Can you imagine? Can you imagine what they’re hacking? I guarantee we’ll find the 33,000 emails.”
Trump did use his fingers for air quotes around “friends,” but the comments are one in string of eyebrow-raising statements on foreign policy from the nominee, including recent comments on NBC's "Meet the Press" where the GOP nominee suggested the U.S. would forego commitments to defend NATO allies if those countries were delinquent on paying their fair share.
Trump called Kaine a "weird little dude" and said he doesn't "know what's going on with him." He compared the jobs and unemployment record of his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, to that of Kaine's in Virginia years earlier. Unsurprisingly, Trump found Clinton's pick wanting. "This is your great governor, right?" Trump asked the Virginia crowd.
He went on to say, "I'm not comparing, they're not, cause they'll say, well one was here and one was there. But I'll tell you: If Mike Pence or me was running Virginia, we'd do great. This guy did a lousy job. You know why? He's a political hack, that's why."
What was presented as a town hall turned into more of a rally, capped off by five questions at the end fielded by both Trump and Pence. The Indiana governor introduced his running mate with a pitch about Trump’s understanding of the American experience despite his wealthy background. “Donald Trump gets it,” Pence told the packed hotel ballroom, which lacked ample air conditioning and left many attendees fanning themselves with papers or their hands. Pence rejoined Trump just before the Q&A portion, Trump inviting him on stage just as he finished reminding the crowd that he was against the Iraq War — which Pence voted for while in Congress.
The nominee let his displeasure about the room’s temperature be known, threatening as he is sometimes known to not to pay the venue’s bill. “I think the ballroom and the people who own this hotel should be ashamed of themselves,” Trump said, likening the room to a sauna. “I don’t know what hotel this is, but you ought to try turning on the air conditioning or we are not gonna get you paid.”
Adding to his usual litany against Hillary Clinton, Trump questioned why Clinton got rid of her middle name. “Hillary Rotten Clinton,” Trump asked and answered, the new nickname a play on words on Clinton’s maiden name, Rodham. “Hillary Rotten Clinton, right? Maybe that’s why. It’s too close. No, no, it’s too close.”
He also revived an old line from attacks on former rival Jeb Bush, calling Hillary low energy and accusing her of needing frequent naps. “No naps for Trump! No naps. I don’t take naps. We don’t have time. We don’t have time.”