GOP nominee Donald Trump began his full offensive against now-bona fide competitor, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, at a presser on Wednesday in Doral, Florida.
"So it's been 235 days since crooked Hillary Clinton has had a press conference," Trump began. "And you as reporters, who give her all of these glowing reports, should ask yourselves why. And I'll tell you why — despite the nice platitudes, she's been a mess."
On the DNC email hack:
Trump cited the DNC email hack — and Clinton's "turning" on ousted chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz — as evidence of her campaign's tribulations.
"If I would have used language that they used about religion, about race, about everything else that they discussed in those emails, I would have had to run and hide, probably drop out of the race," he said. "With her, everything's just fine."
Asked about his and Russia's alleged role in the hack, Trump called it "a total deflection," noting Clinton campaign manager Robert Mook's seemingly improvising the connection to the GOP nominee in a CNN interview.
Trump said Mook's interview reminded him of Jon Lovitz's "Saturday Night Live" character, pathological liar Tommy Flanagan.
Still, Trump seemed to suggest that Russia has located or should locate Hillary Clinton's deleted emails.
"Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," he said. "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."
Asked about his affinity for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump said he's "never met Putin" and doesn't "know who he is."
"He said one nice thing about me. He said I'm a genius," he continued. "I said, 'Thank you very much' to the newspaper. I've never met Putin."
"I would treat Vladimir Putin firmly," he said of his foreign policy toward Russia. Trump was criticized this week for suggesting he may ignore NATO policies should Russia invade Baltic republics. "There's nothing I would rather do than have Russia friendly as opposed to what we have now, so that we can go and knock out ISIS together."
On "getting" ISIS:
"We have to go get ISIS," Trump said. "And we have to get 'em fast."
He referred to "what happened with the priest" on Tuesday in Normandy, France — where two ISIS operatives took a church hostage during Mass and fatally slit the throat of an 85-year-old priest before police killed the attackers. "It's only gonna get worse."
"Hillary Clinton wants to allow 550% more people from (the Middle East) into our country," Trump warned. "And we have no idea who they are, where they come from, where their documentation is. It's only gonna get worse and it's gonna start getting bad in our country."
On acquittals in the Freddie Gray case:
"I do have a response," Trump said when asked if he'd heard about the sweeping acquittal on Wednesday of three Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, who sustained a fatal spinal cord industry while in police custody in April 2015. The case, brought by Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby against six officers in May 2015, ended with no convictions.
"I think she ought to prosecute herself," Trump said of Mosby. "I think it was disgraceful what she did and the way she did it and the news conference that she had where she said they were guilty before anyone knew the facts."
"I give a lot of respect and a lot of credit to those police officers who probably could have signed a deal," he continued. "I give a lot of respective, a lot of credit that they stuck it out, and you had victory after victory after victory, and she had no chance."
On the cost of college:
Deviating from the Republican platform, Trump then bemoaned high college tuitions and the abysmal entry-level job market.
"The saddest thing I see is these students are leveraged debt up to their neck," he said. "They can't breathe. They're scared. They're so scared ... They have leveraged their entire lives."
"The colleges are viewing the students as just a conduit," he added. "Because the students get government money (that) passes through, but the number gets higher and higher because college costs are out of control, because the colleges say, 'What difference does it make?'"
On Bill Clinton's convention speech:
"He left out the most interesting chapter," Trump said, apparently alluding to Bill Clinton's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, which the former-president for obvious reasons omitted from his glowing story about first meeting his wife in law school at Yale. "The chapter that I really waited for ... I never heard."