- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 22, 2016

As Donald Trump prepares to leave U.S. shores to spend a few days with his Scottish golf properties, Hillary Clinton on Wednesday ripped the Republican billionaire and warned his policies would tank the economy — a line of attack political analysts say could gain new traction over the next few days while she has the American stage to herself.

The two presidential candidates spent the day bashing each other in dueling speeches, with the presumptive GOP nominee painting his opponent as hopelessly “corrupt” while the former first lady again took aim at Mr. Trump’s economic plan. The increasingly harsh war of words will be a staple of the 2016 presidential race, as the candidates fight to win over working-class voters who will be crucial in November.

But Mr. Trump is about to take a brief break from campaigning at home to attend the opening of his newly renovated resort in Scotland, abdicating the U.S. to Mrs. Clinton at a pivotal moment in the election cycle.

Specialists say Mr. Trump’s trip, which will last 48 hours from Friday to Sunday, isn’t especially harmful to his political prospects in and of itself, though the Clinton campaign is sure to use it to fuel the narrative that the Republican’s White House ambitions can’t be separated from his extensive personal commercial interests.

“He’s had a terrible six weeks since he became the presumptive nominee, and how is going to Scotland — where he’s going to visit a golf course — going to help him pivot?” said Matthew Dallek, an assistant professor of political management at George Washington University.

Mr. Dallek compared Mr. Trump’s visit to Scotland to then-Sen. Barack Obama’s trip to Berlin in the midst of the 2008 campaign, a move that was criticized at the time but one that Mr. Obama used to tell allies that a new era of U.S. leadership would dawn if he was elected.

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“Candidates … do go overseas, … and sometimes they’re criticized for it, but typically when they do it there is a strategic purpose,” Mr. Dallek said. “Going to visit one’s golf course in Scotland has none of that.”

While Mrs. Clinton may be able to monopolize the American media narrative while Mr. Trump is in Scotland, so far her campaign has few formal events scheduled. Mrs. Clinton’s next address will come over the weekend when she addresses the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Indianapolis. Between now and then, her campaign will hold fundraisers in Chicago, Washington and Miami.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton paid a visit to Capitol Hill, where Democratic lawmakers greeted her with chants of “Hillary, Hillary” and expressed strong support for their party’s nominee.

“I love my candidate for president,” said Rep. Joe Crowley, New York Democrat.

From there, Mrs. Clinton traveled to Raleigh to outline her economic plan and again draw stark contrasts with Mr. Trump.

Her economic speech marked a shift to the political left for Mrs. Clinton as she embraced progressive positions — such as harsh new regulations on Wall Street and debt-free college — more strongly than she’s done at any other point in the campaign.

She peppered her speech with shots at both business leaders and elected officials in Washington.

“It is wrong to take taxpayer dollars with one hand and give out pink slips with the other,” she said to a raucous crowd. “And no company should be moving their headquarters overseas just to avoid paying their taxes here at home.”

Mrs. Clinton went on to blast the connection between Wall Street and Washington that she says is keeping middle-class wages low and hampering widespread economic growth.

“They let Wall Street banks take big risks with unregulated financial activities, they skew our tax code toward the wealthy, they fail to enforce our trade rules, they undermine workers’ rights,” she said. “They have forgotten we are all in this together, and we are at our best when we recognize that.”

Mrs. Clinton specifically said she’d work to force more companies to share profits with their employees. She also said she’d institute an “exit tax” on any firm that moves its operations abroad to avoid U.S. tax bills.

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