Setting aside the substance, the Trump who spoke on Wednesday morning about Hillary Clinton was the one that many Republicans have been waiting for. He stayed on script. He read from the teleprompter. He used soundbites, and made the case for why Clinton would be a bad president. Much of that case focused on one of Clinton’s greatest vulnerabilities: The idea that she and her husband have used her various positions of influence for their own gain—that the Clintons always come before the American people. Trump called the Clintons “corrupt” and “rigged” over and over again. He even got in a good line: “Hillary Clinton got rich making you poor.”
But we can’t set aside the substance completely. Trump’s case was riddled with lies, bullshit, and conspiracy theories. He relied heavily on one widely discredited book, Peter Schweizer’s Clinton Cash, and another by a former Secret Service agent that’s been denounced by many of the author’s former colleagues. He alleged that Clinton Foundation donations went to her personal bank account. He said the United States was the highest taxed nation in the world (it isn’t). He said Clinton wants to allow hundreds of thousands of “unscreened” refugees to enter the country, which is blatantly false.
For Trump, no truth is too good to be untouched by a lie. Critiquing Clinton’s judgment in foreign policy seems like a potentially winning strategy. But Trump had to take it further, arguing that she did Benghazi and left Ambassador Stevens to die.
Still, if you forget the facts, which many will, this was the closest thing to a real political speech that Trump has given in months.