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Saturday 24 February 2018

Trump steps up his campaign trail rhetoric by calling Hillary 'the devil'

Trump claimed Sanders had ‘buyer’s remorse’ over his decision to lend support to Clinton’s campaign. Photo: REUTERS/Dave Kaup
Trump claimed Sanders had ‘buyer’s remorse’ over his decision to lend support to Clinton’s campaign. Photo: REUTERS/Dave Kaup

Harry Cockburn

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has escalated his attacks on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, describing her as "the devil" at a rally in Pennsylvania.

During an attack on Bernie Sanders for lending his support to Ms Clinton's campaign, Mr Trump claimed Mr Sanders had "buyer's remorse" over his decision and said: "He made a deal with the devil. She's the devil."

His remarks come amid controversy over comments Mr Trump made about the parents of a Muslim-American soldier who was killed in Iraq.

He criticised the mother of 27-year-old army captain Humayun Khan for not speaking alongside her husband at the Democratic National Convention, and suggested she had not been "allowed" to speak.

Mr Trump's comments were condemned by both Democrats and Republicans.

Mr Trump did not address the scandal during appearances on Monday, and instead sought to direct attention to Ms Clinton - and to his concerns that the coming election would be "rigged".

Speaking to Fox news, Mr Trump said: "November 8th, we'd better be careful, because that election is going to be rigged. And I hope the ­Republicans are watching closely or it's going to be taken away from us."

It is not the first time Mr Trump has insinuated Ms Clinton was "the devil", having previously said Mr Sanders had done a deal with the devil. But it is the first time he unambiguously equated the former secretary of state with the devil.

Mr Trump's increasingly belligerent campaign rhetoric is a stark contrast to his past relationship with the Clinton family.

Ms Clinton was given a front-row seat at Mr Trump's 2005 wedding to Melania Knauss, and was a major donor to her Senate campaigns and first presidential bid.

Mr Trump also described Bill Clinton as "a really good guy" in a 2012 interview, while the former President said of Trump in the same year: "I like him. And I love playing golf with him."

The Clintons' daughter Chelsea also remains a close friend of Mr Trump's daughter Ivanka.

At a rally last week Mr Trump said he wished the pair were not friends, saying, "It would be a lot easier."

Meanwhile, during a campaign stop in Nevada, Mr Trump's Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence has defended the right of Captain Khan's mother to criticise Mr Trump's comments about herself and her husband. Pence then lashed out at the media's coverage of the controversy at the next stop.

Mr Pence intervened to calm a crowd that was booing a woman who had asked Mr Pence at a town hall meeting in Carson City how he could tolerate Mr Trump's disrespect for American servicemen. In Reno a few hours later, Mr Pence said that both he and Mr Trump have stated that "Capt Humayun Khan is an American hero."

Mr Pence said he understands and appreciates the attention given to Khan's family. But he doesn't understand "why the media maligned and continues to ignore the moving mother of fallen Air Force veteran and diplomat Sean Smith."

Mr Pence said much of the same media criticising Mr Trump had condemned Patricia Smith's speech at the GOP convention about the US information officer killed in the 2012 attack in Benghazi. "Let's demand the media listen to and honour all of the families of the fallen in this country," he said.

Irish Independent

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