Hillary battles on two fronts; Trump dismisses GOP resistance

She faces attack from fellow Democrat Bernie Sanders and the real estate baron, who is good at monikers.

May 06, 2016 08:00 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 04:54 am IST - WASHINGTON:

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is facing a dual duel -- from insider Bernie Sanders and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, who is itching to call her 'Crooked Hillary.'

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is facing a dual duel -- from insider Bernie Sanders and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, who is itching to call her 'Crooked Hillary.'

“Crooked Hillary,” will be what Republican candidate Donald Trump call his likely Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, it became evident as he previewed his general election campaign on Thursday, in the first rally after winning the nomination.  

Sticking monikers on opponents has been a successful strategy for Mr. Trump, who derided his Republican opponents as ‘low-energy Jeb,’ ‘little Marco,’ and ‘lyi’n Ted,’ in his controversial march to victory. “If she wants to go the low road, I'm fine with that. And if she wants to go the high road, which probably I would prefer, I would be fine with that,” Mr. Trump had declared after winning the nomination.

She is facing a dual duel

While Mr. Trump faces an uphill task of unifying the leaders of the Republican Party, it is Ms. Clinton’s battle that is truly on two fronts. Liberated from the chance of running a general election campaign, her Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders has ratcheted up the attack on Ms. Clinton ahead of the West Virginia primary on Tuesday. Deploying lethal sarcasm against her, Mr. Sanders pulled out his cellphone at a rally and said: “I keep this on all the time, waiting for an invitation from the Wall Street to speak to them. But I am never invited.”

Compare and contrast

Challenging Ms. Clinton to release the transcripts of her paid speeches at Goldman Sachs, Mr. Sanders said given her speaking fees of $ 2,25,000 an hour, “they must show some light on all our crises.”

He then went on to draw the difference between him and her in sharp terms – on “disastrous trade deals that she supported and I opposed,” “the war in Iraq that I opposed and she supported.”

At the same time elsewhere in West Virginia, a coal-mining state economically affected by the emphasis on clean energy, Mr. Trump attacked Ms. Clinton on exactly the same issues – trade deals, links with corporations and pursuing disastrous wars abroad.

Trump quotes Sanders to attack Hillary

Mr. Trump liberally quoted Mr. Sanders in his attack on Ms. Clinton.  “Our entire system is a fraud on the American people. That is going to end soon, folks,” he said.  Mr. Trump said it was the Bill Clinton administration that took America into trade deals such as NAFTA, and “Crooked Hillary was part of almost everything that happened then.”

“I am not saying everything, but almost everything,” Mr. Trump paused for impact and repeated the sentence to sink in. 

About Bill Clinton’s ‘affairs’

The crowd got the insinuation about Mr. Clinton’s sexual indiscretions while being in the White House. Mr. Trump, who had contributed to the Clinton Foundation earlier, said it was a ‘big scam.”

On environment, Ms. Clinton is getting it from the left from Mr. Sanders and from the right from Mr. Trump. While Mr. Sanders continues to attack Ms. Clinton for receiving donations from the fossil fuel industry, Mr. Trump focused on her recent statement on shutting down coalmines.

He will keep all mines open

“They say if I use hair spray, it will affect the ozone. How ridiculous is that!” the Republican nominee said, promising to keep all mines open. “You will have so much work to,” he told the miners, and put on a hard hat presented to him by the workers’ union.

While Ms. Clinton is facing the ire of two highly charged crowds – one following Mr. Trump and the other following Mr. Sanders – Mr. Trump is facing the hostility of influential sections within the Republican Party. Speaker Paul Ryan – the highest ranking elected Republican  -- said he was not “ready to support” the presumptive nominee, and put the onus on Mr. Trump to clear the air on multiple issues and win the confidence of conservatives.

Insider attack on Trump 

“I think conservatives want to know: Does he share our values and our principles on limited government, the proper role of the executive, adherence to the Constitution? There’s a lot of questions that conservatives, I think, are going to want answers to,” Mr. Ryan told the CNN in an interview that exposed the deep schism in the party.

George Bush and George W. Bush, the only two living former Republican presidents, also said they would not support the presumptive nominee.

He can work with Ryan?

Mr. Trump was dismissive of the protests. Declaring that he was “not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda,” either, the candidate said: “Perhaps in the future, we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!”

The impact of Mr. Ryan’s disapproval on Mr. Trump’s campaign is too early to predict. The Speaker had announced his opposition to several of Mr. Trump’s position even earlier, with little impact on primary voters.

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