Donald Trump set aside the speculation over Hillary Clinton's health Monday afternoon and shifted focus back to his opponent's demeaning comments about his supporters -- questioning her credibility as a candidate after “attacking Americans who have no political power."
In a blistering speech in Baltimore, Trump made no mention of Clinton abruptly leaving a 9/11 memorial Sunday because of a medical emergency, instead hammering away at her for saying Friday that half his supporters belong in a “basket of deplorables.”
“Hillary Clinton spoke with hatred and derision for the people who make this country run,” the Republican nominee said. “She spoke with contempt for the people who thanklessly follow the rules, pay their taxes, and scratch out a living for their families.”
Clinton has expressed regret for her comments, made Friday at a New York fundraiser. The controversy then faded after Clinton's health issue Sunday, which the campaign suggested was connected to a recent pneumonia diagnosis and other factors.
But Trump on Monday called for Clinton to go further to apologize for her comments.
“If Hillary Clinton will not retract her comments in full, I don’t see how she can credibly campaign any further,” he said.
Clinton has acknowledged she was "grossly generalistic" with her remarks. Spokesman Brian Fallon told MSNBC on Monday, though, that Trump continues to court support from deplorable elements of society and Clinton will not apologize for calling that out.
He said Trump, too, should be calling out those elements and he is not.
Clinton's "deplorables" comment follows persistent criticism of Trump for allegedly stoking racial and immigration tensions. He was roundly criticized on the day he announced his candidacy for suggesting Mexico was sending “drug dealers” and “rapists” across the southern-U.S. border.
Trump later faced criticism for proposing a temporary ban on Muslims coming into the country, after a series of domestic and international terror attacks by Islamic radicals. But Trump has defended himself and pushed back hard Monday at Clinton's comments.
“After months of hiding from the press, Hillary Clinton has revealed her true thoughts,” Trump said.
He said Clinton "and her wealthy donors all had a good laugh," but added: "You cannot run for president if you have such contempt in your heart for the American voter. You can’t lead this nation if you have such a low opinion of its citizens.”
Clinton leads the race nationally by just 3 percentage points, according to the most recent average of polls by RealClearPolitics.com.