Donald Trump fiercely escalated his attacks on the media in a Thursday speech, following new accusations of sexual misconduct against the Republican nominee.
“The corporate media in our country is no longer involved in journalism,” Trump told a raucous crowd in West Palm Beach, Fla.
“They’re a political special interest no different than any lobbyist or other financial entity, with a total political agenda,” he said. “And their agenda is to elected crooked Hillary Clinton at any cost, any price, no matter how many lives they destroy. For them, it’s a war. And for them, nothing at all is out of bounds.”
Trump also turned blistering fire on Bill and Hillary Clinton, whom he alleged “are criminals, remember that.” He added: “They’re criminals.”
Earlier in the speech, as Trump was attacking his Democratic rival, his supporters started chanting, “Lock her up!”
Trump concurred. “Honestly, she should be locked up. Should be. Should be locked up,” he said, as his fans cheered.
The real estate mogul is facing new allegations by four women published Wednesday in three different publications. The women, who all spoke on the record, said Trump groped or kissed them without their consent years ago.
Trump accused the “Clinton machine” of orchestrating the accusations, and used his Thursday speech to rebut them emphatically. He repeatedly told his supporters to “look at” the accusers.
“These claims are all fabricated,” he said. “They’re pure fiction, and they’re outright lies. These events never, ever happened, and the people that said them meekly fully understand. You take a look at these people, you study these people, and you’ll understand also.”
Jessica Leeds, one of the women, told the New York Times that more than three decades ago, she was on a plane sitting next to Trump when the real estate developer grabbed her breasts and tried to reach under her skirt. Rachel Crooks told the Times that in 2005, Trump kissed her without her consent in Trump Tower. Mindy McGillivray told the Palm Beach Post that Trump groped her 13 years ago at his Mar-a-Lago estate. And Natasha Stoynoff, a People magazine writer, said Trump forced her against a wall and kissed her while she visited the same estate in 2005.
In his speech, Trump questioned why the women came forward only this week, less a month before Election Day. He said he had “substantial evidence” to refute their “lies,” but declined to offer it just yet. He also said that some of the incidents occurred in public places and would have had other witnesses.
“Take a look,” Trump said of the People magazine writer. “Look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don’t think so.”
The four accusations against Trump that surfaced on Wednesday follow the release on Friday by the Washington Post of a 2005 video recording in which Trump can be heard boasting about kissing and grabbing women without their consent. He subsequently insisted that this was simply “locker-room talk” that he had not acted upon.
In his Florida speech on Thursday, Trump urged his supporters to disregard poll numbers showing him lagging behind Clinton and to embrace his campaign as part of the “survival” of the United States.
“This is a struggle for the survival of our nation, believe me. And this will be our last chance to save it, on Nov. 8 — remember that. This election will determine whether we are a free nation, or whether we have only the illusion of democracy, but are in fact controlled by a small handful of global special interests rigging the system. And our system is rigged,” he said.
Trump also repeatedly attacked the Times, which he vowed to sue.
“Facts mean nothing,” he said of the newspaper’s reporting standards. “Third-rate journalism. The great editors of the past from the New York Times and others, ladies and gentlemen, are spinning in their grave.”
The Times released a statement essentially daring Trump to launch his lawsuit, which it described as without merit and undermined by Trump’s own 2005 comments lewdly boasting of such behavior.
David E. McCraw, a lawyer for the newspaper, said that if Trump “believes American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight.”
— NYTCo Communications (@NYTimesComm) October 13, 2016