Trump Jr.: Pick father over ‘corrupt’ Clinton
Donald Trump Jr. talks about his father's campaign with a group of mostly black activists at the Republican Party headquarters in Detroit Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Todd McInturf, The Detroit News
Donald Trump Jr. fired up a Detroit audience of 30 mostly black activists and an East Lansing ballroom of college students and other onlookers Wednesday as he urged them to vote for his Republican father for president.
The oldest son of New York businessman Donald Trump attacked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as “corrupt,” citing the renewed FBI investigation into her email server and potentially related emails as well as foreign government contributions to the Clinton Foundation in return for alleged U.S. government favors.
He cast his dad as being not only an agent of change, but the head of a movement.
“If we all ran our households like politicians have run our government in Washington, D.C., we’d all be living in the streets,” Trump Jr., 38, said during a 14-minute pitch at Michigan State University.
If voters elect Clinton, “we’re saying that pay-to-play is OK,” he said.
The argument resonated with Walter Curtis, a 57-year-old Livonia resident and Trump supporter who works at gun and hunting show exhibits and attended the East Lansing speech.
“You know what I’m really thinking? That Washington needs a giant enema,” Curtis said. “The Republican establishment is against him. The Democrat establishment’s against him. He’s even talking about term limits for Congress. It’s a great idea.”
Trump Jr. urged millennials to go vote after Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel told the crowd that “Michigan is in play.”
MSU freshman and Trump supporter Nicole Stein said she loves that Trump Jr. directly appealed to millennials.
“It’s nice to have our voice heard,” she said. “I think he’s the right candidate for the job, especially with everything coming out now with Hillary Clinton and the FBI, the emails.”
Dozens of student protesters also gathered outside where Trump Jr. spoke, wielding signs calling Trump a racist and chanting during his speech.
A Latino student organization called Culturas de las Razas Unidas organized the event “to show that Spartans do not stand with the anti-Latinx, anti-Black, anti-LGBT, anti-women, anti-Muslim, etc. rhetoric perpetrated by Donald Trump Jr.’s Father, Donald J. Trump,” according to a Facebook event page.
A Trump Jr. protester said she thinks Trump is leveraging hate and fear to try to gain the presidency.
“We don’t feel safe going out anymore,” said Ana Celis Rodriguez, a sophomore studying mechanical and applied engineering at MSU. “There’s a lot of people that tell us we should be deported when we’re actually a second- (or) third-generation immigrant. It’s unfair that people judge without knowing us.”
The visit to Michigan comes after two Trump rallies Monday in Grand Rapids and Warren, where the 70-year-old real estate developer claimed that the race here is “even,” although a Real Clear Politics average of recent statewide public polls in Michigan showed Clinton with a 6-percentage-point lead.
Clinton plans to visit Detroit Friday to encourage voting.
Ivanka Trump is scheduled Wednesday night to hold a roundtable discussion with female business leaders and host a community forum in Troy.
Trump Jr. was dressed casually in blue jeans, a striped pale blue shirt and a navy Trump-Pence jacket and later planned to address a Grand Valley State University audience in Allendale.
In his earlier Detroit appearance, he criticized the former secretary of state for being supported by political nonprofits that are not legally required to report from whom they receive contributions but can choose to do so voluntarily.
“Her whole campaign is funded by dark money,” Trump Jr. said.
But the executive vice president of the Trump Organization also targeted “elites on the Republican side ... because they know we’re going to break up their little cush system that has gotten them and their friends really rich, too.”
Trump made the comments in the Detroit office of the Michigan Republican Party with Romney McDaniel sitting about three feet from him.
“This is really a movement that we haven’t seen in a long time,” he said. “When a politician can go around the country and speak two, three, four times a day to 10, 15, 20,000 people at a time, that’s not a campaign anymore. It’s a movement.”
People have always suspected the “graft and corruption” behind Clinton, Trump Jr. said, but “now we see it in WikiLeaks” — the hacked emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
He criticized Clinton setting up a private email server at her home as secretary of state.
“The FBI reopens an investigation. She is outraged, outraged. Hey, she could have solved this months ago and handed over those emails. But instead she sent the (email) server to Colorado, 2,000 miles away, to be bleached.
“They actually took hammers to iPhones and Blackberries to make sure that information didn’t get out.”
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey found in July that Clinton and her colleagues were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” but decided they didn’t intend to violate federal laws on the handling of classified information.
Trump Jr. subsequently sat at a round table with African Americans sympathetic to the GOP and said there is no doubt that his father will strip away regulations on businesses that hurt job growth and vowed that he is pro-life on abortion.
“We are overregulated and it has become such a burden,” he said.
Trump Jr. said his father would help protect Christians persecuted around the world as president and that he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would uphold the Constitution and life.
Accompanying Trump was Mark Geist, one of the surviving soldiers in the September 2012 attacks on the Benghazi, Libya U.S. consulate, who said the latest e-mail leaks show she is an opportunist who puts American lives at risk.
“She’s willing to put America’s sons and daughters and our grandchildren in harm’s way because she wants to win an election,” Geist said referring to emails suggesting her advisers sought to take advantage of the revolution in Libya for her presidential run. “Not because it’s what’s right for the country.”