Donald Trump issued a breathtaking call to arms Thursday as he emphatically denied allegations that he groped and kissed multiple women without their consent, charging that his accusers are part of a global conspiracy to extinguish his outsider movement.

Scrambling to turn around his floundering campaign, Trump declared war on the media and multinational corporations, alleging they are colluding with Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton to orchestrate “the single greatest pile-on in history” and undermine his campaign, which he said is an “existential threat” to the global establishment.

“The Clinton machine is at the center of this power structure,” the Republican nominee said at a rally in West Palm Beach, Florida. “Anyone who challenges their control is deemed a sexist, a racist, a xenophobe and morally deformed. They will attack you. They will slander you. They will seek to destroy your career and your family. … They will lie, lie, lie.”

Trump’s fiery invective came just minutes after first lady Michelle Obama tried to summon the morality of a nation by saying Trump’s degrading comments about women were an affront to all citizens.

The dueling speeches made for a remarkable moment in a roiling presidential campaign and signaled that the final 25 days would focus not on policy or ideology but on character.

The first lady, exasperated and angry, said video of Trump in 2005 bragging about leveraging his stardom to force himself upon women “has shaken me to my core.”


Though careful never to mention Trump by name, she sternly admonished him for behavior she called “cruel,” “sick” and devoid of basic human decency.

“This is not politics as usual,” Obama said at a rally for Clinton in Manchester, New Hampshire. “This is disgraceful. It is intolerable. And it doesn’t matter what party you belong to – Democrat, Republican, independent – no woman deserves to be treated this way. None of us deserves this kind of abuse.”

Trump framed his candidacy in epic, global terms. He said the Nov. 8 election represents “a crossroads in the history of our civilization,” with his populist movement fighting to upend “radical globalization and the disenfranchisement of working people.”

Trump hopes his revolutionary message will galvanize his base of aggrieved working-class whites to vote in historic numbers and help him overcome what polls suggest could be an insurmountable deficit to Clinton with virtually every other demographic group.

Trump’s remarks, which he read from teleprompters, were laced with the kind of global conspiracies and invective common in the writings of the alt-right, white-nationalist activists who see him as their champion.

Some critics also heard echoes of historical anti-Semitic slurs in Trump’s allegations that Clinton “meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty” and that media and financial elites are part of a soulless cabal to destroy “our great civilization.”


“It’s a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities,” Trump said.

The speech bore the imprint of Stephen Bannon, the Trump campaign’s chief executive, who until recently was the executive chairman of Breitbart, a conservative website that serves as the virtual town square of the alt-right movement.

Trump leveled searing charges against Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. He accused them of engaging in “a massive coverup of widespread criminal activity at the State Department and the Clinton Foundation.”

“The Clintons are criminals,” Trump said. “Remember that. They’re criminals.”

Trump dismissed the claims of sexual harassment made by several women Wednesday as an “absolute horror show of lies” and labeled his accusers – as well as the journalists who reported their stories – “horrible, horrible liars.” He claimed he could prove their accusations are false, but he declined to detail his evidence.

“Now the Clinton machine has put forward a small handful of people out of tens of thousands of people over the years that I’ve met, that I’ve worked with, that I’ve employed, in order to make wild and false allegations that fail to meet even the most basic test of common sense,” Trump said.


There is no evidence that the Clinton campaign was behind the women going public with their accusations. Two women who told the New York Times that Trump touched them inappropriately said they came forward after watching Trump, in Sunday night’s debate, deny ever taking such actions.

In his Florida speech, Trump lashed out at former People magazine reporter Natasha Stoynoff, who wrote in a first-person account published Wednesday that Trump kissed her without her consent at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in 2005 when they were alone before an interview with him and his then-pregnant wife, Melania.

“Take a look, you take a look,” Trump urged his supporters. “Look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don’t think so.”

Clinton, who was in California on Thursday raising money, told donors at a San Francisco event that the accounts about Trump were “disturbing.”

“The whole world has heard Trump brag about how he mistreats women, and the disturbing stories just keep coming,” Clinton said.

“But it’s more than just the way he degrades women, as horrible as that is. He has attacked immigrants, African Americans, Latinos, people with disabilities, POWs, Muslims and our military, which he’s called a disaster. There’s hardly any part of America that he’s not targeted.”


The abuse allegations have put Trump further on the defensive at a time when he trails Clinton badly in key battleground states and has been abandoned by dozens of elected Republican officials. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Monday he would no longer defend Trump or campaign with him, though he has not withdrawn his endorsement.

Democrats on Thursday marveled at what they see as Clinton’s good fortune: The allegations against Trump, and his decision to dig in and rebut them one by one, distract from damaging revelations that have emerged from the WikiLeaks hack of Clinton campaign emails.

Trump also faced new criticism over vulgar comments he made about forcing himself physically on women in a 2005 video, first reported by The Washington Post last Friday. Soap-opera actress Arianne Zucker told NBC News that Trump’s words were “offensive comments for women, period.”

In the video, Trump is heard talking about Zucker on a hot microphone right before meeting her for a guest appearance on her show. “I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump says. “You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”

He adds: “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

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