In response to recent revelations of new emails pertaining to the FBI’s investigation of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s private server, Donald Trump declared at a campaign stop in Eau Claire, Wisconsin that the presidential election might not be rigged against him after all.
In front of a crowd of “many thousands” of supporters*, Trump riffed on the media and, in a stunning change of heart, expressed his surprise at the media’s feasting on FBI Director James Comey’s letter to Congress implying a reopening of the Clinton investigation.
“You look at these emails, all these emails. Have you seen these things? They’re out there folks, thousands of them,” Trump said to raucous cheers. “Frankly with all the bad stuff in there, all this coverage from the media, this election doesn’t seem so rigged after all.”
The packed crowd in the W.L. Zorn Arena was shocked to hear the abrupt shift of rhetoric, falling to near silence and looking to one another in uncertainty as Trump continued on. Suddenly a cheer of “finally!” and sparse clapping from one supporter broke the group’s pause before spreading to the rest of the audience, which was soon back to cheering and chanting at its prior volume.
“This kind of transparency is very important to me and to the American people. I wouldn’t want it to seem like I’m getting an unfair advantage.” – Trump
Trump spoke for nearly 45 minutes with a seemingly renewed vigor and vitality. Rather than defying new stories alleging his fraudulent tax practices and secret communication between the Trump Organization and a major Russian bank, the Republican nominee seemed amazed that those bombshells hadn’t recaptured the news cycle and shifted the American public’s attention back to his own controversial candidacy.
“These are big stories, folks, whoppers,” he said. “Two weeks ago the media would be all over these stories, front pages, headlines, you name it. Now it’s all emails, all the time. It’s not the Clinton News Network for nothing!”
Trump supporters interviewed after the event expressed solidarity with their nominee, whose sharp 180 was taken in stride.
“If he says it’s not rigged, I guess it must not be rigged,” said Trump supporter Carolyn Major, a Eau Claire resident. “You can see the coverage out there, it’s all over Clinton.”
“Where are all those women that accused him of sexual assault? I haven’t heard a peep from the media about them since this happened,” said rally attendee Bill Fannigan of Chippewa Falls. “It’s like they forgot about it all to focus on these emails again.”
Following the rally, Trump made himself available for media questions for a full 15 minutes, turning down a rash of questions about Clinton and the newly discovered emails for queries about his tax returns and foreign policy specifics.
“This kind of transparency is very important to me and to the American people,” Trump said toward the end of the media session. “I wouldn’t want it to seem like I’m getting an unfair advantage.”