The verbal acidity of the 2016 race for President went up a few notches on Thursday, as both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump sought to use the aftermath of an NBC News forum to their advantage, with each side trying to portray the other as unfit for the job of President of the United States.
Clinton started the jabs in a morning tarmac news conference in New York, as she said Trump’s answers on national security issues showed he is not ready for the White House.
“Last night was yet another test, and Donald Trump failed yet again,” Clinton said before starting a day of campaign stops, as she said Trump had “trash-talked” U.S. military leaders.
“We saw more evidence that he is temperamentally unfit and totally unqualified to be Commander in Chief,” Clinton added.
Clinton continued her tough talk at a campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, as her campaign zeroed in on Trump’s assertion that he opposed the war in Iraq.
In the afternoon, the campaign sent out a fundraising email focused not only on Trump’s words about Iraq, but also moderator Matt Lauer of NBC:
As for Trump, he did not let the day go by without responding to Clinton’s broadsides, as he started an event on school choice in Cleveland, Ohio with a number of volleys aimed right at his opponent.
“The whole country saw how unfit she was,” as Trump started off talking about the NBC forum, and then swung right to Clinton’s emails, which were a prime issue on Wednesday night.
“Every time she talks about the subject, it’s different,” Trump said. “She’s got to get her act together.”
Trump then launched into an extended explanation of his stance on the Iraq war during the Bush Administration, as he said he was really an opponent, not a supporter as the press has reported.
Trump on Iraq war: 'I opposed it going in. And I did oppose it. Despite the media saying no, yes, no. I did oppose it.'
“Had I been in Congress at the time of the invasion, I would have cast a vote in opposition,” Trump said, though that’s been challenged by a number of political fact-checkers.
Trump’s praise for Vladimir Putin also raised eyebrows among Republicans on Capitol Hill, who don’t see Putin as someone to emulate. Speaker Paul Ryan said he considers Putin and Russia, an “adversary.”