FLETCHER, N.C. -- After a lighthearted evening in which he traded barbs with Hillary Clinton at a charity dinner, Donald Trump was back on the attack today, calling out Washington leadership and condemning the Obamas for campaigning for Clinton.
“We have a bunch of babies running our country, folks,” said Trump at a campaign rally in Fletcher, North Carolina. “We have a bunch of losers, they’re losers, they’re babies.”
The past three days have been a whirlwind for Trump. The New York businessman debated Clinton in their third and final faceoff in Las Vegas on Wednesday, campaigned in Ohio on Thursday and then attended the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York City Thursday night -- an annual charity function in which, during election years, presidential candidates take turns trading jokes.
But while Trump sported a smile Thursday evening as Clinton cracked one-liners at his expense, his speech today was direct in its critiques of the establishment, even looping in a target he had yet to attack on the trail, First Lady Michelle Obama.
“And I see how much [Michelle Obama] likes Hillary,” said Trump. “But wasn’t she the one that originally started the statement, ‘If you can’t take care of your home,’ right? ‘You can’t take care of the White House or the country?’ Where’s that? I don’t hear that. I don’t hear that.”
Trump was referring to a line spoken by Michelle Obama during the 2007 Democratic primary campaign.
“Our view was that, if you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House,” said Michelle Obama in August 2007 at an event supporting her husband in Chicago.
However, while Trump’s implication today was that the first lady was alluding to then-Sen. Clinton and her relationship with her husband -- former President Bill Clinton -- the full context of her remarks indicates that Obama was referring to how she and her husband were handling parenting in the midst of the campaign.
“So, we've adjusted our schedules to make sure that our girls are first, so while he's traveling around, I do day trips. That means I get up in the morning, I get the girls ready, I get them off, I go and do trips, I'm home before bedtime,” continued Michelle Obama in 2007.
In North Carolina, not only did Trump flag Michelle Obama’s 9-year-old comments, but he criticized both her and President Obama for the amount of time they've spent campaigning against him.
“I mean, why is Obama campaigning? He ought to be out working,” said Trump, later adding, “We have a president, all he wants to do is campaign, his wife, all she wants to do is campaign,”
Earlier this week, in a joint appearance with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Obama addressed Trump's claims of a "rigged" election, advising the Republican to “stop whining.” Both he and Michelle Obama stumped in support of Hillary Clinton on Thursday. President Obama campaigned in Florida while the first lady traveled to Arizona.
The generally self-assured Republican nominee also mused, in a rare moment of public introspection, about a possible election loss.
"Right up until the actual vote of Nov. 8, and then I don't know what kind of shape I'm in but I will be happy and at least I will have known: win, lose or draw,... I will be happy with myself,” Trump said, adding that he thought he would win if turnout is high.
"I don't want to think back, if I only I did one more rally, I would have won North Carolina by 500 votes, instead of losing it by 200 votes, right? If only I did. So I never want to ever look back. I never want to say that about myself. We have to work."