GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Near the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg, Donald Trump laid out his strategy Saturday for the battle ahead. But what was billed as a "roadmap" to a Trump administration was a further escalation of the GOP nominee's scathing rhetoric against his foes in a presidential election that he has likened to a war.
His remarks, which included threatening to sue the women who have accused him of sexual assault in years past, were cast in the light of a campaign still battling for votes Nov. 8 — and suggesting a battle even beyond this election.
Trump has been down in polls across the board in recent weeks and is looking to steady a ship that has been plagued by those sexual assault allegations and distractions from the campaign's core message of attacking rival Hillary Clinton.
Before pivoting to his policy-based "closing argument" at Saturday's rally, Trump swore to sue the 10 women who have come out in recent weeks with allegations of sexual assault against him while unleashing a more ferocious attack on the media.
"Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign," Trump said in the most direct terms he’s used yet to discredit the increasing number of women who have claimed he grabbed or groped them without consent. "The events never happened, never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over."
That threat came after Trump has also made repeated accusations that the upcoming election is "rigged" in favor of Clinton — drawing rebuke from Democrats as well as some Republicans. He then said he would accept the election results, as long as he wins.
His policies — once he got to them Saturday — ranged from tax reform to ethics reforms to trade promises and a legislative wish list that offered no new specifics the campaign hadn’t previously laid out before.
Instead, Trump’s remarks served as mostly a catch-all for past promises and policy proposals. Only this time, the promises were called a "contract" between the presidential hopeful and the American people he has repeatedly pledged to put first if elected.
The Republican nominee then lashed out at media conglomerates and said they're an example of how corporations control the media to write and report in favor of a chosen candidate.
"They’re corrupt," Trump said of the press. He alleged that reporters "fabricate" stories to favor their "preferred choice" and make the alternative "look as bad, and even dangerous, as possible."
The Clinton campaign pounced on Trump afterwards.
“Trump’s major new policy was to promise political and legal retribution against the women who have accused him of groping them," Clinton Deputy Communications Director Christina Reynolds said in a statement. "Like Trump’s campaign, this speech gave us a troubling view as to what a Trump State of the Union would sound like—rambling, unfocused, full of conspiracy theories and attacks on the media, and lacking in any real answers for American families.”
Trump rehashed much of his previously announced policies, with few new specifics, like this one regarding his immigration plan: For undocumented immigrants who are deported, Trump said he would institute mandatory minimum sentences of two years in prison for those who return to the United States.
That sentence would increase to five years if the person returns a second time after they are deported.
Trump's Saturday rally in Gettysburg was not his first time laying out his plan for what the early days of his administration would look like.
During a June event in lower Manhattan, where Trump drilled down on Clinton’s policy record, he included an eight-point preview plan of his first 100 days as a contrasting vision.
In that speech — which was Trump’s most cohesive and distilled attack against Clinton to that point — he emphasized his push for conservative Supreme Court justices, the need for better trade deals that prioritize American workers, tax cuts, and repealing and replacing Obamacare. The theme then: America First.
But specifics in that first speech were scarce. The promise from advisers on the eve of Saturday’s remarks was that it would be steeped in principles and saturated in policy specifics that would provide a “roadmap” to the initial weeks of a would-be Trump administration.
Advisers described Saturday's speech as a further highlight of the two different approaches to the remaining days of the tumultuous 2016 campaign.
The Clinton campaign is "going to sit on their lead, they are going to run out the clock,” a senior adviser told reporters Friday night.
The Trump campaign on the other hand, the adviser said, plans to keep taking the message to the voters.