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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Donald Trump in Ocala questions presidential debates, Congress but doesn't mention leaked video



Even while he touted his Sunday debate, saying he “annihilated the enemy,” Donald Trump hinted in an Ocala rally Wednesday afternoon that he’s frustrated with the Commission on Presidential Debates.

“I have no respect for that group, by the way. I’m done,” he said. “Aye, aye, aye, what a rigged deal this is.”

He and Hillary Clinton are supposed to debate again on Oct. 19.

At the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion in Ocala, Trump declared his disappointment in Congress, including Republican leadership after Speaker Paul Ryan said this week that he would stop campaigning for Trump. (“There’s a whole sinister deal going on,” Trump said.)

And he brought out old campaign favorites, like calls for a wall on the country’s southern border and decrying the private email server Clinton used as secretary of state.

“I have a feeling that the NSA has it,” he said of missing email files. “They don’t want to get it, I have a feeling.”

But in more than an hour on stage, Trump did not mention the leaked video of him making lewd comments about women and describing groping and sexually assaulting them.

Not once.

Before Trump took the stage, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho did mention the comments. 

“I do not make excuses about somebody that says something 11 years ago in a locker room, but let’s be realistic about this,” said Yoho, incorrectly placing Trump in a locker room instead of wearing a microphone to be on TV. “A true leader will take responsibility for that. Mr. Trump is a leader.”

Trump supporters at the rally were largely unfazed by the remarks.

Liana Lopez, a University of Florida student, said that “women have to tolerate” lewd comments on occasion.

“I’m a college student. I know what men are capable of saying when they’re together,” she said. “And I don’t condone what he said and I don’t think it was right, but that’s not going to stop me from agreeing with his policies.”

Following news that a federal judge delayed Florida’s voter registration deadline to Oct. 18, Trump called on attendees to register and request mail ballots.

“Is there anybody in here not registered?” he asked. “If you’re not registered, get the hell out of here, okay?”

On climate change and a Tuesday Clinton rally in Miami that featured former Vice President Al Gore, Trump said he supports conservation efforts but downplayed the role of climate change, which he has previously called a hoax.

“I want immaculately clean water and I want immaculately clean air,” he said. “That’s what I want.”

And Trump doubled down on remarks that caused a stir earlier this summer, when he said President Barack Obama “essentially founded” ISIS.

“I’m kidding,” Trump said Wednesday. “But really not that kidding.”

Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion in Ocala on Oct. 12, 2016.

[Stephen Crowley/The New York Times]

Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion in Ocala on Oct. 12, 2016.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 5:03pm]


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