Speaking in Greensboro, a defiant Donald Trump Friday ridiculed allegations of sexual assault as “lies and smears” and mocked the looks of some of his accusers, and even of Hillary Clinton.
“It’s a phony deal, I have no idea who these women are,” he said. “When you look at that horrible woman (on TV) last night, I don’t think so.”
Referring to a woman who said he groped her on an airplane, he said, “Believe me, she would not be my first choice.” And he rejected the claim by a People magazine writer who said during a 2005 interview session at Trump’s Florida estate, he pushed her against a wall and kissed her.
“Why didn’t she put it in the story?” he said. “She’s a liar. Check out her Facebook page and you’ll understand.”
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Alluding to Clinton during last week’s debate, he said, “When she walked in front of me, believe me I wasn’t impressed.”
The rally came before Trump was scheduled to attend a 5 p.m. fundraiser at Weddington’s Longview country club and a 7 p.m. rally at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Trump’s North Carolina appearances come in one of the rockiest weeks yet in his presidential campaign. A week ago, a 2005 video showed him making vulgar and lewd comments about women and boasting that he grab them because he was “a star.”
This week several women came forward claiming they were assaulted by Trump. He has denied it.
“The process is rigged, the whole election is being rigged,” he told around 4,000 people at Greensboro’s White Oak Amphitheater. “These lies being spread by the media … are poisoning the minds of the electorate.
Earlier Friday President Barack Obama unleashed a blistering attack on him in Cleveland, saying the Republican candidate “lacks the basic honesty that a president needs.”
“Donald Trump’s closing argument is: What do you have to lose?” Obama told the Ohio crowd. “The answer is everything.”
On Thursday Michelle Obama ripped Trump at a Clinton rally in New Hampshire, saying the Trump video had “shaken me to my core.”
Trump’s visit also comes amid signs of a shrinking battlefield.
NBC News reported that the campaign is pulling out of Virginia, with North Carolina joining Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida as one of four remaining battlegrounds.
Trump and Clinton are locked in a tight race in the Tar Heel State, with Clinton leading by 2.9 points in RealClear Politics’ polling average.
As he did in the last presidential debate, Trump vowed that if elected, he would ask his attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor investigate Hillary Clinton. As the crowd chanted “Lock her up!,” he said, “for what she’s done they should lock her up.”
Trump dismissed allegations by a handful of women as he targeted “the corrupt media.” He said he has been “viciously attacked with lies and smears.”
“These are lies being pushed by the media and the Clinton campaign in order to keep their grip on the country,” he said. “They are all false, they’re totally invented, fiction. All 100 percent totally and completely fabricated.…
“Now suddenly after many, many years, phony accusers come out less than a month before one of the most important elections in the history of our country.”
Trump referred to the “sickness that is plaguing our politics and our media.”
“And I’ll tell you what,” he said, “our media is indeed sick, and it’s making our country sick, and we’re going to stop it.”
In a statement, N.C. Democratic chair Patsy Keever called Trump a “misogynist creep.”
“This is wrong and outrageous and should have been the end of Trump’s campaign,” she said. “Any candidate who holds these disgusting views is unfit to lead our nation.”
Trump did talk about other issues:
▪ Terrorism. Trump implicitly criticized Clinton’s decision not use the term “radical Islam” when describing terrorists.
If elected, he said, “I’m going to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country.”
▪ Trade. Trump ripped current trade policies. He pledged to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement signed by President Bill Clinton on day one of a Trump administration.
“We’re going through the greatest job theft in the history of the world,” he said.
▪ Immigration. He said the U.S. has “a one-way highway into Mexico.”
“You know what we get?” he said. “We get illegal immigration and drugs.”
Mark Small, 46, an unemployed welder, said he supports Trump because of his entrepreneurial success and ability to create jobs.
“He might not have started out poor, but he’s built a pretty good business,” Small said. “They keep talking about how he may not be as rich as he thinks he is, but he’s a lot richer than most people and he’s created a bunch of jobs. She hasn’t created any jobs.”
The rally also attracted protesters including Lisa Fullington, 64, a retired businesswoman. She said the video tape shows Trump’s “true character.”
“He does not respect females,” she said. “He is a misogynist. He’s a narcissist. He thinks he can go in and grab anybody’s private parts. That is just absurd in this day in age. This is 2016. This isn’t the 1600s.”