ROANOKE, Va. » Donald Trump has a new, derisive nickname for his Democratic rival: Hillary “Rotten” Clinton.
Addressing backers today in an overly warm ballroom in Roanoke, Virginia, the Republican presidential nominee lashed out at Clinton as low-energy and needing naps. He argued that she dropped her maiden name, Rodham, because it sounds like “rotten.”
“Why did she get rid of it? Hillary Rotten Clinton, Rotten Clinton. Hillary Rotten Clinton, right?” Trump told the crowd. “Maybe that’s why, it’s too close.”
Trump has repeatedly referred to Clinton as “Crooked Hillary.”
The event was held in the home state of Clinton’s new running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, whom Trump derided as a “weird little dude” and a political “hack.” Trump argued that Clinton made a mistake when she chose Kaine, describing the well-liked former governor and senator as the opposite of the sort of fiery liberal that supporters of Clinton’s former rival Bernie Sanders may have been drawn to.
Many of Sanders’ supporters at the Democratic National Convention remain deeply committed to their candidate, holding demonstrations in Philadelphia and booing mentions of Clinton on the convention floor.
Trump reveled in the drama as he campaigned with his running mate, Mike Pence.
Speaking tonight at a rally in North Carolina during a rally that capped off his first day on the road since becoming his party’s nominee, Trump repeatedly pointed to the commotion in Philadelphia.
“What a mess they have going,” said Trump. “Crazy Bernie’s going crazy right now.”
During the Virginia rally, the billionaire businessman unleashed a barrage of attacks against Clinton in light of the latest scandal to overshadow her run for office. He accused Clinton of disloyalty for not protecting outgoing Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz following the release of hacked emails that suggest some DNC staffers favored Clinton over Sanders.
Trump claims Wasserman Schultz “worked very hard to rig the system” in Clinton’s favor, and Clinton responded by throwing her “under the bus.”
He also suggested at one point that China may have been involved in the DNC hack, despite no evidence to suggest the country’s involvement.
“Little did she know that China, Russia — one of our many, many friends — came in and hacked the hell out of us,” Trump said sarcastically, framing the words “friends” in air quotes.
After Democratic Party officials learned their systems were attacked in late April, they sought the help of the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike Inc., which then discovered traces of at least two sophisticated hacking groups on the Democrats’ network — both of which have ties to the Russian government.
The FBI said today it is investigating how the hack occurred.
In North Carolina, Trump dismissed suggestions that the Russians may be trying to influence the election in his favor because of his relatively friendly approach to the country’s president, Vladimir Putin. He called the idea “one of the weirdest conspiracies.”
Still, he asked: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we actually did get along with Russia?”