Donald Trump delivered a blistering attack Wednesday on Hillary Clinton's record as secretary of state, accusing her of milking oppressive regimes of tens of millions of dollars to benefit the Clinton Foundation and calling her a “world-class liar."
Clinton had the chance to throw it back at Trump at a campaign
appearance in Raleigh, N.C., but saved her counterpunching for the end of her speech -- in terms she’s used before. She accused him of peddling "empty promises" and having "no answers."
The dueling speeches only served to sharpen the tone of an already brutal 2016 race.
Speaking at his New York City hotel, Trump said Clinton “perfected the politics of personal profit” and “doesn’t have the temperament ... or the judgment to be president.”
He specifically took her and Bill Clinton to task for taking millions from Saudi Arabia and other countries that criminalize homosexuality. Trump suggested Clinton as president would be influenced by all the lobbyists, CEOs and foreign governments who paid the Clintons to give speeches over the years.
"They totally own her and that will never, ever change," he said.
Hours later, Clinton fired back. She mostly stuck to policy until the end, when she turned her attention to Trump. In his criticism of the Clinton Foundation operation, she accused him of attacking a “philanthropic foundation” that saves lives.
“The Clinton Foundation helps poor people around the world get access to life-saving AIDS medicine,” she said. “Donald Trump uses poor people around the world to produce his line of suits and ties.”
Clinton said he has no strategy for creating jobs and, "He has no plan for rebuilding our infrastructure ... apart from his wall."
The criticism follows an address Tuesday in which Clinton claimed a Trump presidency would throw the country into recession.
Trump’s New York address served as a rebuttal of sorts. Trump also made an early appeal to Bernie Sanders’ supporters, saying he would be able to understand their frustration with politics and a “rigged process.”
“The insiders wrote the rules of the game to keep themselves in power and in the money,” Trump said. “That’s why we’re asking Bernie Sanders’ voters to join our movement so together we can fix the system for all Americans. Importantly, this includes fixing all of our many disastrous trade deals.”
Trump hit Clinton hard on her handling of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012 that led to the death of four Americans, including Chris Stevens.
“He was left helpless to die as Hillary Clinton soundly slept in her bed -- that's right, when the phone rang at 3 o'clock in the morning, she was sleeping,” Trump said. “Ambassador Stevens and his staff in Libya made hundreds of requests for security. Hillary Clinton’s State Department refused them all. She started the war that put him in Libya, denied him the security he asked for, then left him there to die.”
He added, “To cover her tracks, Hillary lied about a video being the cause of his death.
Trump also suggested that the Clinton Foundation took money from governments that have abysmal human rights records.
He accused Clinton of taking $25 million from Saudi Arabia, “where being gay is also punishable by death.”
He added that she “took millions from Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and many other countries that horribly abuse women and LGBT citizens.”
The Trump campaign is hoping his speech will resonate with Republicans who may still be on the fence regarding Trump’s White House run. The plan is to get Republicans to focus their ire on Clinton.