Democrat Hillary Clinton, seeking to dampen Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s growing appeal with working-class voters, on Tuesday accused him of having cheered on the 2008 housing market crash.
Clinton’s campaign released an ad with audio that the presumptive Republican nominee recorded in 2006 for his now-defunct Trump University venture. Trump, a billionaire real estate developer, in remarks on a “bubble burst,” said: “I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy” property and “make a lot of money.”
Clinton’s campaign and her surrogates have seized on the recording to argue that she would take better care of the U.S. economy. Clinton is seeking to blunt the inroads that Trump has been making with voters in crucial states such as Florida and Ohio.
Trump, in a statement released Tuesday afternoon, defended the comments as the mark of shrewd dealmaking, saying he would bring that sort of sharp business acumen to the White House.
“Frankly, this is the kind of thinking our country needs, understanding how to get a good result out of a very bad and sad situation. Politicians have no idea how to do this – they don’t have a clue,” he said.
Trump has never held elected office and often touts his history as a businessman in response to accusations that he is unprepared to assume the presidency.
Opinion polls in key states show Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, and Trump in a tight race ahead of the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election. Nationally, Trump has been rising in polls to pull roughly even with Clinton.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat who is a favorite of financial reformers, bashed Trump in prepared remarks released ahead of a speech in Washington on Tuesday. Trump’s 2006 comments, she said, amounted to rooting for “people to get thrown out on the street.”
“The rest of us were horrified by the 2008 financial crisis,” Warren said in the comments. “But Donald Trump was drooling over the idea of a housing meltdown – because it meant he could buy up a bunch more property on the cheap.”
Warren also criticized Trump for saying in a Reuters interview last week that the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial oversight law, enacted in response to the crisis, made it hard for bankers to operate.