A defiant Donald Trump on Wednesday morning attacked Hillary Clinton and the Democratic leadership at a news conference at Trump National Doral.
“It's been 235 days since crooked Hillary Clinton has had a press conference,” he said.
He also attacked Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who stepped down Sunday. Trump said she stacked the deck against Bernie Sanders.
“She totally rigged it,” he said.
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Trump spoke briefly and then took several questions for more than 30 minutes from the national press about a long list of topics including Russia, his tax returns, immigration, the minimum wage, trade paying for college and his running make Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Trump said that in the next few weeks he will release plans related to immigration and said that his poll numbers showed increased Hispanic support.
“I’ve doing very well Hispanic community,” he said.
But he was most colorful in his bashing of Clinton and linking her to Wasserman Schultz, who stepped down after thousands of DNC emails showed the party favored Clinton over Sanders.
“It’s about the things that were said in the e-mails. Terrible things. Talking about race. Talking about Jewish. It was Debbie Wasserman Schultz and believe me as sure as you’re sitting there Hillary Clinton knew about it. Debbie Wasserman Schultz couldn’t breathe without speaking and getting approval from Clinton. It was a rigged race. It was totally rigged.”
Trump faced a few questions related to the deaths of black men at the hands of police including in Louisiana and Minnesota. Trump defended law enforcement.
“If the police do 100,000 great jobs and they have one either rogue police man or a cop was poorly trained or did a bad job you see that incident on television for weeks...,” Trump said. “You don’t see the good work they do. You see one mistake they make out of 100,000 it's on television night after night after night.”
Trump faced several questions about whether he has ties to Russia —which he denied —and his relationship with Vladimir Putin.
“I never met Putin,” he said. “I don’t know who Putin is. He said one nice thing to me. He said I was a genius. I said. ‘Thank you very much.”
The speech was open to the media but not the public and one of a few events Trump held in South Florida the past 24 hours including a fundraising dinner where he served, of course, Trump steaks and a small group meeting with a few Hispanic leaders.
Trump spoke at the Trump National Doral golf resort which he acquired in 2012. It’s the biggest revenue-generating property in his portfolio, according to his financial disclosure reports. He has yet to release his tax returns.
Trump held a fundraiser Tuesday evening at his resort.
His visit to South Florida during the Democratic National Convention shows the importance of the swing state in the general election. Clinton appeared for the first time with her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, on Saturday at Florida International University. Both candidates are expected to repeatedly appear in Florida before the Nov. 8 election.
Trump has run a non-traditional campaign in Florida but it has paid off so far. While Clinton has spent millions of dollars on TV web ads in Florida, Trump hasn’t advertised on TV at all. But despite that, Trump is holding his own in Florida where a Real Clear Politics average of the polls before the conventions showed a deadheat in Florida.
During the March 15 primary, Miami-Dade was the only county Trump lost — the county voted for the hometown candidate, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
Miami-Dade is the county with the largest number of Hispanic voters in Florida. Trump has alienated some Hispanics with his comments about a judge of Mexican descent handing his Trump University case and his plans to build a wall at the Mexican border and claims about Mexicans being rapists.
Trump has tried to make nice with Hispanic leaders in Florida. His schedule originally showed him holding a Hispanic roundtable Tuesday, but that event was scrapped by Monday. At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Hispanic surrogates such as state Rep. Carlos Trujillo Miami spoke on behalf of Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Recent Univisión and Telemundo polls show little Latino support for Trump. Eleven percent of Hispanic voters hold a favorable view of Trump, according to the Telemundo/NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
On Tuesday night, Trump and a few members of his staff met with about 10 South Florida Hispanic, religious and civic leaders at the Doral golf resort. Trump spoke for a few minutes about his campaign and a range of issues and then listened to the participants in the group.
Trujillo said that participants asked Trump to expand on if he is able to secure the border then what happens to the 11 million undocumented immigrants already here.
“One thing all Hispanics want to see is immigration reform,” Trujillo said. “He is still forming the solution.”
Trujillo described the meeting with Trump as more of a listening session and not a speech.
He said the general tenor was “how can we work together to accomplish goals?”
Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck, an early Miami-Dade supporter of Trump and a Miami lawyer, said they talked about several issues of high importance to Florida hispanics.
“We talked about the issues of Cuba, Miami as a gateway to Latin America and commerce, the Cuban Adjustment Act and how we felt about it,” he said. “We discussed activities we need to do to bring more HIspanic in to support Trump including Puerto Ricans in Orlando.”
Miami Herald staff writer Patricia Mazzei contributed to this report.