Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday pounced on the turmoil over leaked emails that marred the opening of the Democratic National Convention, saying the episode was more evidence of Hillary Clinton’s bad judgment.
At a campaign stop here that began shortly before the opening of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, Trump attacked Clinton for not standing by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who resigned as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee after emails surfaced showing the party worked to discredit Clinton rival Bernie Sanders.
“So Debbie was totally loyal to Hillary. And Hillary threw her under a bus. And it didn’t take her more than five minutes to make that decision,” Trump said at the event, where he also branded Clinton’s new running mate, Sen. Timothy M. Kaine (D-Va.), as a “weird little dude.”
Clinton was also on the campaign trail Monday in advance of her convention’s opening. During a pair of stops in North Carolina, another battleground state, she made no mention of the controversy gripping her party in Philadelphia, instead promising a convention that would be very different from the Republican gathering in Cleveland last week.
“I’m very excited about contrasting our vision and values with what we saw from Donald Trump and the Republicans,” Clinton told supporters packed into a theater in Charlotte. “He offered a lot of fear, bigotry and smear.”
Earlier Monday, Clinton used an address to a national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars to contrast what she would bring to the role of commander-in-chief with the qualifications of her Republican rival.
“I am not a newcomer to these issues,” Clinton said, citing her experience as secretary of state and her service on the Armed Services Committee while a U.S. senator.
Clinton also noted to her largely male audience that she is the first woman to be the presidential nominee of a major political party and acknowledged “it takes a little getting used to, even for me.”
Trump is scheduled to address the veterans group in Charlotte on Tuesday. He also had a rally scheduled Monday night in Winston-Salem, N.C.
During his event in Roanoke, Trump questioned Clinton’s loyalty to Wasserman Schultz but also blasted the outgoing party chairwoman’s management of the Democratic nominating process, suggesting that it was rigged against Sanders and Clinton knew “everything that was going on.”
Trump said that Wasserman Schultz was “highly overrated” but had nonetheless put “her life on the line” for Clinton and “worked very, very hard” to make sure that she won the nomination. Trump said that politicians are very disloyal, “except for Mike Pence,” the Indiana governor who is his new running mate.
Trump also criticized Clinton’s decision to ask Kaine to join the Democratic ticket, saying that he does not represent the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
“She could have had party loyalty,” Trump said. “Instead they have thousands and thousands of people going crazy because … she didn’t pick someone representative of what’s going on.”
Trump called adding Kaine to the ticket another example of Clinton’s bad judgment.
At another point, Trump poked fun at the way Clinton’s name sounds, mocking her maiden name, Rodham.
“Hillary Rotten Clinton. Maybe that’s why, it’s too close,” Trump said.
During Clinton’s address to the veterans group, she never mentioned Trump by name. But she took repeated jabs at him, referring to controversial statements he has made about military and national security issues.
Clinton, for example, stressed the importance of “standing with our allies, because they are part of what makes us exceptional.”
Trump alarmed many in the country’s foreign policy establishment when he was quoted last week in a New York Times interview saying that as commander-in-chief he would not automatically come to the defense of the United States’ NATO allies if they were attacked.
Clinton also described her efforts with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to raise money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, an organization that aids military personnel and their families.
“I believe that he and all American prisoners of war are heroes,” Clinton said of McCain, a reference to Trump’s comments last summer that McCain was not a war hero because he had been captured.
Clinton’s comments came on the same day that she formally claimed the endorsement of Ret. Marine Gen. John R. Allen, another move by her campaign intended to bolster her military and national security credentials.
Allen served as commander of the International Security Assistance Force overseeing NATO troops in Afghanistan and as deputy commander of U.S. Central Command.
His allegiance to Clinton was hardly a secret, given that Allen was recently announced as a speaker on Thursday at the Democratic National Convention.
In recent weeks, Clinton has accepted endorsements from former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage and former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, both of whom served Republican presidents.