Donald Trump jumped Wednesday night onto the popular internet forum Reddit to answer questions from an enthusiastic community of supporters, saying he prefers such “new media” in light of “the total dishonesty of the press.”
The Republican presidential nominee attacked Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as “crooked”; vowed to repeal so-called Obamacare and remake visa policies; urged Bernie Sanders’ backers to align with him; and boasted that he is “never tired of winning” — all comments commonplace at his campaign rallies.
His engagement of the online audience appeared to fire up the participants as much as he has in person during campaign stops.
He was hosted by a pro-Trump Reddit subgroup called “The_Donald,” which actively moderated the conversation and weeded out what they said were “troublemakers.”
The question-and-answer session amassed more than 24,000 comments within two hours, overtaking the number in a Reddit conversation conducted in 2012 by President Barack Obama.
“Crooked Hillary Clinton will not do press conferences because she cannot explain her illegally deleted 33,000 emails, or her disaster in Libya, or her role pushing TPP (which she would 100% approve if she got the chance), or her support for a 550% increase in Syrian refugees, etc.,” Trump wrote under the handle “the-realDonaldTrump,” citing criticisms that Clinton’s camp has denounced as lies.
A backer called “jebisatotalmess” — a reference to vanquished GOP opponent Jeb Bush — responded by typing “LOCK HER UP” dozens of times.
The phrase was chanted at several points during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week and at Trump campaign events since then.
The Manhattan real estate magnate conducted much of the Reddit session from aboard Trump Force One en route to a campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio.
Asked which U.S. presidents he most admired, Trump named George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.
At one point, he was asked, “Mr. Trump, What is your plan for reducing or removing the influence of money on politics?”
The candidate responded, “Keeping Crooked Hillary Clinton out of the White House!”
He concluded by representing Clinton as the status quo.
“Hillary Clinton’s message is that things will never change,” he wrote. “My message is that things have to change, and they have to change right now.”