Before Mike Pence and Donald Trump hit the stage Monday afternoon, their crowd was already chanting ‘Lock her up!’ – a slap at the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.
By the time Trump was through with his first post-convention campaign stop, he had one-upped them by giving Hillary Rodham Clinton a new nickname.
‘Why did Hillary get rid of her middle name? Huh? Hillary?’ he asked a capacity crowd in a ballroom at a Roanoke, Virginia hotel. ‘No, but why did she get rid of it?’
‘Hillary – “Rotten” Clinton!’ he said. ‘”Rotten” Clinton. Hillary Rotten Clinton, right?’
‘Maybe that’s why. It’s too close.’
Trump took shots at Clinton running mate Tim Kaine, departing Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren – whom he referred to as ‘Pocahontas’ for allegedly inventing a claim of American Indian heritage.
‘She’s got a fresh mouth,’ Trump said of the famously liberal lawmaker. ‘Otherwise she’s not nothing going.’
He complained about the stifling heat indoors, likening it to the 92-degree heat outside and accusing the hotel of skimping on air conditioning to keep its costs down.
‘I think it’s cooler outside than it is in this damned ballroom!’ he exclaimed midway through a 45-minute speech with five minutes of Q&A tacked on.
‘I feel like I’m in a sauna, right? So I don’t know what hotel this is, but you ought to try turning on the air conditioning or we’re not going to get you paid. These people! Am I right? It’s hot!’
Trump also he recycled an old insult that he once leveled with great effect at former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, calling Clinton ‘low energy’ and mocking her for taking midday naps.
‘Her instincts are defective,’ Trump said. ‘But she’s got – she’s low energy. She actually is low-energy.’
‘She’ll go home, she’ll take a nap for four or five hours, then she’ll come back,’ he continued.
‘No naps for Trump! No naps! I don’t take naps! We don’t have time!’
In one of the less-flattering emails uncovered last year in the Clinton email scandal, Clinton aide Huma Abedin and fellow State Department staffer Monica Hanley were captured chatting about how often their boss was asleep when they needed her.
‘Have you been going over her calls with her?’ Abedin asked. ‘So she knows [[India Prime Minister Manmohan] [S]ingh is at 8?’
Hanley replied: ‘She was in bed for a nap by the time I heard that she had an 8am call. Will go over with her.’
‘Very imp[ortant] to do that,’ Abedin wrote back. ‘She’s often confused.’
Those emails were part of a cache of tens of thousands of messages Clinton turned over to the State Department a few years after her departure from the agency’s top job.
But she ordered nearly 33,000 other emails deleted from her now-infamous private, homebrew server.
Trump continued his attacks on Clinton’s ‘bad judgment,’ a slap he has adopted from Bernie Sanders, using it to criticize her for choosing Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her number-two.
‘She shouldn’t have picked this guy. Big mistake,’ he said.
In his native commonwealth, ‘he’s not very popular!’ Trump boomed. ‘I thought that I would see polls saying he’s at 85 per cent and Trump is going to lose Virginia! ‘And I – people don’t even like the guy.’
Then, in a strange departure from his train of thought, Trump mocked Kaine’s campaign demeanor.
‘And you look – he’s a weird little dude, man. I don’t know what’s going on with him,’ he said.
The billionaire had no kind words for Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who will step down this Friday from her perch atop the Democratic Party following an embarrassing email hacking scandal.
‘I always knew she was highly overrated,’ he said. ‘Not good. But she just got fired. They said, “Debbie, You’re fired! You’re out, Debbie!”‘
He mostly picked Clinton apart for reportedly insisting that Wasserman Schultz step down after emails showed the DNC trying to sabotage Sanders’ candidacy.
‘There’s no loyalty. None whatsoever. … Hillary Clinton knew what was going on.’
‘So Debbie was totally loyal to Hillary, and Hillary threw her under a bus and it didn’t take her five minutes to make that decision. Man, I don’t want her covering my back!’ he blared.
‘Whether you like her or not,’ he said of Wasserman Schultz, ‘she worked very hard to rig the system so Hillary Clinton would get in.’
‘Little did she know that China, Russia, one of our many, many “friends”,’ he said, making air-quotes with his fingers, ‘came in and hacked the hell out of us.’
‘Can you imagine what they’re hacking? I guarantee we’ll find the 33,000 emails.’
Pence, the Indiana Republican governor nominated for the vice presidency, introduced Trump for six minutes and came back to share the stage with him at the end of the event.
Consistent with his campaign style, he was far more gentle with Clinton.
‘The policies of Barack Obama and Hilllary Clinton have weakened America’s place in the world and stifled our nation’s economy. And we’re ready for change,’ he said.
Pence invested the rest of his stage time praising Trump as a great builder whose instincts were to honor ‘the men and women who work with their hands.’
‘He has a heart for the American people that comes, I think, from a lifetime of building, and being around men and women who build,’ Pence said.
‘This is a man who has built skyscrapers and built skylines, but he’s built them shoulder-to shoulder with the people who did the work.’
And speaking of the Democratic Party without naming it, he said that ‘the other side’ is pushing a progressive agenda including ‘more government, more taxes, more regulations, and they’re going to tell us this is the best we can do.’
‘Well, it’s nowhere near the best we can do,’ he said to warm applause. ‘It’s just the best they can do.’