Trump calls Virginia a 'have to win' state
Trump began his remarks by talking about the man who handed his Purple Heart medal to the candidate outside the auditorium. He asked the man, whom Trump later introduced on stage as retired Lt. Col. Louis Dorfman: "Is that the real one, or is that a copy?"
Dorfman told him it was real, and he was giving it to Trump because he had "confidence" in his campaign. "That’s like big stuff," Trump said. "I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier."
The remarks came as Trump continued his running feud with the family of slain Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was awarded both a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his actions that saved the lives of his fellow soldiers.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine mentioned the Khans on Monday evening in a speech at a Richmond, Virginia high school, calling Tump's attacks on them "the lowest of the low." He said Trump's only real passion "was Donald Trump," and chided the Republican nominee for his campaign rhetoric.
The crowd at Trump's event, however, responded to Dorfman's gesture with chants of "U.S.A., U.S.A."
Trump proceeded to tell the crowd that Virginia was critical to his campaign's success, saying "we have to win Virginia. We’re going to be back a lot."
However, Kaine's remarks on Monday suggested Trump has his work cut out.
Kaine said he knew of a number of Republicans, including his father-in-law Linwood Holton, the first Republican elected governor of Virginia since Reconstruction, who are "optimistic and positive people about this country," and who are opposing Trump's candidacy. "They're not trash talking the United States all the time like Donald Trump does."
On Tuesday Trump ignored Kaine's speech, and did not mention him by name. Instead, Trump said Clinton's vice presidential choice was "the exact opposite of everything" Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders represents. "You would think she’d give Bernie a little bit of a bone," when it came to filling out the Democratic ticket, he said.
His speech hit the themes that have carried him through the campaign, including the renegotiation of foreign trade agreements, stronger immigration laws, improved care for veterans, and beefing up the nation's armed services, which Trump characterized as "totally depleted."
But Trump saved the bulk of his talk for attacks on Clinton. Calling her beholden to her campaign donors, and her "handlers," Trump said Clinton's routine is to "get up, go on stage for 20 minutes, she reads, and goes home to go to sleep."
"Do you think she looks presidential?" he asked the crowd."I don't think so."
"Here’s a woman who’s a total thief, she’s a crook. She’s got the temperament of a loser."
Trump pushed back on criticisms that he has been too friendly toward Russian President Vladimir Putin, even going so far as to call on the Russian intelligence services to hack into her email servers in an effort to find her missing emails.
Trump characterized his overtures to the Kremlin as a way to fight terrorism. "Wouldn’t it be great to get along with Russia?" he asked the crowd. "If we could get Russia and others to partner up and knock the hell out of ISIS, wouldn’t that be great?"
Trump said Clinton has a "bad relationship with Putin," and would be incapable of dealing firmly with a nation he contends has a "newer," and more numerous, nuclear arsenal. "She wants to play the tough one. She’s not tough."
He repeated a pitch he made last week in a campaign appearance in Roanoke, where he said one of the most important issues in the election will be who gets to pick the next batch of Supreme Court justices. "I am going to appoint great justices of the Supreme Court. Great," he said, adding that "even if you can’t stand Donald Trump, you’re going to vote for me. You know why? Justices of the Supreme Court.
"If we don’t get the right people, we’re going to be Venezuela, only bigger," Trump said, echoing a point he made at the close of his Roanoke appearance last Monday. "Can you imagine if you have Hillary Clinton picking five super libs?"
Trump reiterated that his campaign had become "a movement," but warned that "we've got to finish it off. We've got to beat a dishonest machine."
He also promised to revisit Virginia often as the campaign wears on. "Virginia we’re going to be here so much, you’re going to be sick of seeing me. We’re going to be here a lot."
Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, is scheduled to appear at a town hall-style event at the Founders Inn Spa in Virginia Beach on Thursday afternoon.