- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Seeking to turn Donald Trump’s business record into a weakness for the general election campaign, Hillary Clinton on Wednesday slammed the billionaire’s checkered history in Atlantic City, charging that he stiffed contractors, lined his own pockets and ultimately “got rich and got out” of the troubled city.

Speaking in front of the now-shuttered Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Mrs. Clinton launched her most blistering assault to date on Mr. Trump’s business dealings. But her attacks went beyond business itself and extended to the Republican presidential nominee’s character and integrity.

Mrs. Clinton cast her White House opponent as someone who simply doesn’t care about his employees, the contractors who work for him, or the communities in which he does business.

“Three weeks ago, he said, ‘I’m going to do for the country what I did for my business.’ … What he did for his businesses and his workers is nothing to brag about,” she said. “In fact, it’s shameful. And every single voter in America needs to know about it so we don’t let him do to our country what he did to his businesses.”

Mrs. Clinton cited the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, the Taj Mahal and other casinos, and other Trump properties that have gone belly up as proof the Republican’s business credentials simply aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. She also said he routinely refused to pay contractors money they were owed and intentionally structured deals to ensure he’d be paid first in the event of bankruptcy.

Mr. Trump responded on Twitter by saying he got out of the city before it entirely collapsed.

“Even the once great Caesars [Palace] is bankrupt in A.C. Others to follow. Ask the Democrat City Council what happened to Atlantic City,” he said.

As Mrs. Clinton spoke, Mr. Trump released a statement defending his business record and his use of bankruptcy laws.

“Out of the hundreds of businesses I have owned over the decades, and hundreds of deals and transactions, I have used the chapter laws of our country in four instances, much as many of our country’s elite business people do (but nobody cares about),” he said. It is an effective and commonly used practice in business to use bankruptcy proceedings to restructure a business and ultimately save jobs. Nobody understands the economy like I do and no one, especially not Crooked Hillary Clinton, will do more for the economy than I will.”

The back-and-forth between the two candidates over Mr. Trump’s business record surely will be a staple of the fall campaign. The Clinton campaign believes it can use the Republican’s decades of business dealings as a potent political weapon.

“He got rich and got out, and he thinks that’s something to be proud of. He didn’t just take advantage of investors. He took advantage of working people as well,” Mrs. Clinton said. “It is the same scam over and over again, and make no mistake, he’s not asking for forgiveness. He’s just hoping we forget. The people he’s trying to convince to vote for him now are the same people he’s been exploiting for years.”

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