Donald Trump’s speech on Wednesday was scripted, but the message he conveyed was largely similar to when he speaks off-the-cuff at rallies — that his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, is a liar who can’t be trusted.
Many of his supporters have adopted this rhetoric.
In conversations with Business Insider, several attendees at Trump’s Wednesday speech in New York characterised Clinton as dishonest.
They discussed how the presumptive Republican nominee’s straight-talk contrasts with Clinton’s politicking.
Clinton’s reputation as a dishonest politician has dogged her for years.
A Gallup poll conducted during the 2008 primary season showed that while a majority of voters thought John McCain and Barack Obama, the eventual major-party nominees in that election cycle, were honest, less than half of Americans thought the same about Clinton, who eventually dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination.
Trump has used Clinton’s entrenched reputation to his advantage, painting her as a dishonest, shady politician. His supporters (perhaps unsurprisingly) seem to agree.
Here’s what some Trump supporters said about his rival, whom he often calls “Crooked Hillary”:
Phil Jusino, attorney from New York
“I think she’s dishonest,” Jusino told Business Insider. “I think she’s an opportunist. She will say or do whatever she needs to do to get elected.”
Jusino mentioned Clinton’s false story about landing under sniper fire in Bosnia in 1996. Clinton said in a speech at George Washington University in 2008 that she ran with her head down to get into her vehicle upon arriving at the airport in Bosnia, but that turned out not to be true.
“You see the video and she’s walking across the tarmac and someone’s handing her flowers, there were girls, it was a ceremony,” Jusino said.
He then repeated a line Trump included in his speech that day.
“Like he said, Brian Williams’ career was destroyed for a lot less,” Jusino said. “And the things she does, whether it be Benghazi, whether it be the [email] servers, it just seems like scandals follow her. But she seems to get through it somehow.”
Jusino believes that Trump, in contrast, is honest.
“I think he’s honest,” Jusino said. “I think he looks at America first. I think he sees that to solve our problems, you can’t be looking to other countries. We have to start within.”
Jusino also likes that Trump is a family man.
“They always talk about him, the liberals do, as a crazy person, as a lunatic, ‘You don’t want him with his finger on the button,’ but he’s a guy that loves his family, he loves America,” Jusino said.
Al Baldasaro, New Hampshire state representative
When asked to describe Clinton in one word, Baldasaro went to Trump’s favourite moniker for his Democratic rival: “Crooked.”
“I got a son who’s a Marine,” he said. “I was a Marine, retired. I went to war, I sent my son to war. I’m scared, under rules of engagement, to have Hillary Clinton be my son’s commander in chief.”
Baldasaro, a veterans’ advocate, cited the deaths of Americans in the embassy attack in Benghazi, Libya, as the root of his concerns about Clinton’s fitness to be commander in chief.
“She dropped the ball on the veterans in Benghazi, she’s dropped the ball on other embassies on security,” Baldasaro said. “Everything got pushed aside, it was low priority.”
Baldasaro likes Trump for his candid rhetoric.
“I think he’s awesome, I think he tells it like it is,” Baldasaro said. “[T]rump is the real deal. If I thought he was an arse, I’d never support him. You know, if I thought he was a BS-er — but I’ve looked at his past.”
Juan Pablo Andrade, political consultant
When asked about the first word that comes to mind when he thinks of Clinton, Andrade responded, “Liar.”
Asked to elaborate, Andrade, who’s a member of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, replied: “In her position as secretary of state and senator here in New York, she didn’t really do much. She was basically all show.”
Andrade said Trump was actually his third choice for the nomination, behind former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
“Once Jeb dropped out, Trump was, in my opinion, the last, best choice,” Andrade said. “[I] saw that he was reaching out to a different type of voter that’s never voted in any election before and that’s when I knew that, OK, yeah, it looks like Trump’s going to be the nominee.”
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