In a rambling 45-minute campaign speech on Monday, Donald Trump managed to: lambaste Hillary Clinton, make an appeal to Bernie Sanders’s supporters, criticize Sanders’s progressive values, censure Clinton for not picking a more progressive running mate, call Sanders soft, and champion Sanders’s position on trade.
If that sounds hard to follow ... it was.
During the Republican convention, Trump mostly stayed on script, trying to appear like a normal candidate. But at a rally in Roanoke Monday, he was back to his more typical off-the-cuff and bombastic mode, eschewing a teleprompter and going on endless digressions.
"Hillary Clinton — and I got it from Bernie Sanders — she suffers from bad judgment," Trump said, before jumping into a strange (and evidence-free) riff about how Clinton takes too many naps:
She is low energy. She will go home, she will take a nap for four or five hours, then she will come back. No naps for Trump. No naps. I don’t take naps. We don’t have time. We don’t have time. ...
We have tough enemies out there. We have tough, mean, vicious, horrible, horrible people. These are horrible people, horrible human beings. We need toughness, folks, we need strength, we need smarts, we need warmth, we need compassion, we need everything. But we don’t need somebody that goes home at takes naps. We don’t need naps.
Trump also went after Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who stepped down as Democratic National Committee chair this week after WikiLeaks released a trove of leaked DNC emails: "[Wasserman Schultz] worked very hard to rig the system. She worked very, very hard to rig the system. Little did she know that China, Russia, one of our many, many ‘friends’ came in and hacked the hell out of us. Can you imagine what they are hacking? I guarantee that we will find the 33,000 emails. Why did Hillary get rid of her middle name? Why did she? Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hillary Rotten Clinton. It’s too close," Trump said in one rambling thought.
Trump also said he was "surprised" Sanders was still planning to speak at the Democratic convention Monday night after the email leak. His comments oscillated between calling Sanders "soft" and commending his campaign for having more energy than Clinton's.
It was a return to form for the Republican nominee. In the weeks leading up to the GOP convention, Trump almost always gave scripted speeches — particularly after he fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski (who was known for letting Trump be Trump) and gave the reins to Paul Manafort. But the Virginia rally was a reminder that Trump unleashed isn’t going away.