Trump calls for testing before final duel in presidential race
Donald Trump has challenged rival Hillary Clinton to a drug test before their next debate, suggesting the Democrat US presidential candidate was pumped up on performance-enhancing drugs in a stunning new twist to the brutal White House race.
The unsubstantiated attack from the Republican nominee came as a new poll yesterday showed Clinton with a four-point lead over her Republican rival.
The poll reveals that Trump still holds a solid core of voters – despite snowballing claims of sexual misconduct that have thrown his presidential campaign into chaos.
Trump has trampled all conventions in his treatment of his opponent, vowing – if elected – to throw Clinton in prison over her e-mail practices as secretary of state — and making “Lock Her Up” a rallying cry for his fired-up supporters.
His campaign has fuelled rightwing conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health – seizing on her bout of pneumonia last month – to suggest she is hiding a major health problem, and is unfit for office.
In the latest attack, Trump, 70, suggested Clinton had taken drugs during their last debate, and called for testing ahead of their final duel in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
“At the beginning of her last debate, she was all pumped up. At the end, it was like, ‘Take me down,’ she could barely reach her car,” he told a rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Saturday.
“Athletes, they make them take a drug test. I think we should take a drug test prior to the debate. Why don’t we do that?” Trump said.
The Manhattan billionaire has spent the past week claiming the media and a global elite are working against him.
Ten women have come forward to say they were victim to unwanted advances by the real estate mogul.
Trump’s latest accuser, Cathy Heller, now 63, said he had kissed her against her wishes 20 years ago.
Trump denies the allegations, insisting in one of a barrage of tweets to his 12 million followers: “Nothing ever happened with any of these women. Totally made up nonsense to steal the election. Nobody has more respect for women than me!”
The controversy apparently has had little effect on Trump’s support.
An ABC News-Washington Post poll out yesterday showed Clinton leading Trump 47% to 43% among likely voters – a small change from 46% to 44% in a survey taken ahead of the first presidential debate.
The poll was taken after the October 7 release of audio from 2005, in which Trump bragged that he could get away with grabbing women’s crotches because he was famous.
However, the poll said enthusiasm for Trump had decreased among his supporters.
Clinton has scaled back her campaign commitments, keeping a low profile as her rival battles the allegations, triggered by the release the previous weekend of a video of him bragging about groping women.
But the Clinton camp issued a response to Trump’s latest election comments, accusing him of seeking to erode public faith in the vote.
“This election will have record turnout, because voters see through Donald Trump’s shameful attempts to undermine an election weeks before it happens,” Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said.
The nation’s top elected Republican, House speaker Paul Ryan – who last week declared he would no longer defend the party’s nominee – has also rebuked Trump over his comments questioning the validity of the election process. AFP