Less than 100 days till the Election Day, GOP nominee Donald Trump is already crying foul.
"I'm afraid the election's gonna be rigged," Trump said at a rally in Columbus, Ohio on Monday. "I have to be honest. I hear more and more that the election on November 8th. Can you believe we're almost there?"
The business mogul has already complained about the dates of the presidential debates that were set by a bipartisan commission in September of last year, upset that two of the three debates will be up against National Football League games.
Trump was in a complaining mood on Monday, summoning reporters unexpectedly to a hallway before he went on stage. Reporters were told that Trump was about to hold an impromptu press conference. There was no press conference. Instead, Trump wanted to sound off about a fire marshal, as he did last Friday in Colorado.
"Just want to tell you - we've had thousands of people outside, thousands," Trump said, as reporters craned to hear what he had to say. "They were turned away by - for political reasons - purely for political reasons."
"That's politics at its lowest, Trump continued. "You oughta check it out. But it's really politics at its lowest. Come on, lets go have a good time."
With that, Trump turned and headed towards the stage. Reporters shouted questions and implored him to answer about his comments concerning the Khan family, the parents of a fallen veteran who have been feuding with Trump over the last week. On Monday, Trump was denounced by Republican Sen. John McCain and the Veterans Of Foreign Wars, which released a statement saying, "there are certain sacrosanct subjects that no amount of wordsmithing can repair once crossed."
Trump didn't answer those questions or mention the Khan controversy in his speech. He did, however, address a seeming blunder from Sunday, when he seemed unaware about Russia's incursion into the Ukraine, including its annexation of Crimea, which earned widespread condemnation. On Monday, Trump was adamant that he knew what he was talking about - and that the blame for Crimea's annexation should be laid squarely at the feet of President Barack Obama.
"I said very simply: they're not gonna do it on my watch, essentially," Trump said. "I said Russia will not go into the Ukraine. I said that.
When I said, 'Believe me, Russia's not going into Ukraine, alright?' They're not going into Ukraine. The person said, 'But they're already in Ukraine.' I said, 'Well that was two years ago.' That's - I mean - do you want to go back? Do you want to have World War III to get it back? That was during Obama's watch."
This was a generous interpretation of Trump's interview with ABC, when he seemed caught off guard by the questioning. Trump was asked it was a good idea for the GOP platform to remove a plank that would provide lethal weapons to Ukraine.
Trump responded, "I have my own ideas. [Vladimir Putin] not going into Ukraine, okay, just so you understand. He's not gonna go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down."
At this point, ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos reminded Trump that Russia was already in Ukraine.
"Okay. Well, he's there in a certain way," Trump said. "But I'm not there. You have Obama there. And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama with all the strength that you're talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this. In the meantime, he's going away. He takes Crimea."
At Trump's town hall in Columbus, he sought to assure his supporters that he is knowledgeable on foreign affairs, and then claimed that it was Obama that forced Russia into an alliance with China.
"We forced them together. Obama forced them together," Trump said. "Because he didn't get along with either, and they eventually, China came in and said, 'Let's make a deal or no oil.' They're together!"
As with many controversies that embroil Trump, this was another one that didn't seem to be diminishing his support among his hardcore fans. When asked whether Trump's comments about the Khan family gave her any pause, 73-year-old Judy Delledonne, an insurance agent, didn't seem fazed.
"There were some things but now that you find out that [Khan] was paid to be on there and that he doesn't even live in this country and that he wants Muslims to integrate here - immigrate here," Delledonne said. "There's a whole bunch of stuff on the internet about this gentleman that everybody is talking about."
When it was mentioned to her that Khan actually lives in the United States, Delledone said, "That's not what the internet is saying. You know what's on the internet is true."
Another Trump supporter, 66-year-old Mark Kelly, a retired banker, said that while he still supported Trump, he wished that the presidential candidate would watch his words.
"Honestly, I wish he would tone down some of his messages at times and maybe think about how he's going to be perceived. He has trouble rolling back many of his comments."
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