U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said he was taking the gloves off in his battle against Democrat Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House after taking a scorching from speakers at the Democratic National Convention.
Trump wrapped up a five-day, seven-state campaign swing in Colorado on Friday, where for a fifth straight day his supporters chanted “lock her up” whenever he brought up Clinton’s name.
Trump supporters say Clinton deserves to be prosecuted for her handling of U.S. foreign policy as President Barack Obama’s first-term secretary of state and for her use of a private email server while in that office.
All week Trump has sought to tamp down the chants by stressing that his main goal is to simply beat Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election.
But as the crowd chanted the slogan in Colorado Springs, Trump finally relented.
“I’m starting to agree with you, frankly,” he said. “No more Mr. Nice Guy.”
Trump was a punching bag at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, which wrapped up Thursday night, as speaker after speaker – including some Republicans – said he lacked the temperament to be president. Clinton herself said in her acceptance speech that the election represented a “moment of reckoning” for the country.
Later in his stump speech, Trump criticized Clinton sharply, but got sidetracked by a couple of disputes from last year as he tried to rebut a Clinton campaign ad.
That ad uses video clip from Trump’s attack on Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly in protest of her questioning of him at a debate of Republican presidential contenders last August when he said afterward that blood was “coming out of her eyes, coming out of her wherever.”
“I was talking about her nose,” Trump said in Colorado Springs. “I wanted to get back on the issue of taxes” at the debate.
Trump also brought up the case of disabled New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, whom Trump seemed to mock publicly in video used by the Clinton ad.
Trump said he was depicting the reporter groveling to him.
“I didn’t know he was disabled. I didn’t know it at all. I had no idea,” he said.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Leslie Adler)