Clinton Hits Trump on Casino Bankruptcies in Atlantic City

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton visited the famous boardwalk in Atlantic City on Wednesday to highlight Republican rival Donald Trump's casino bankruptcies, warning he would bring the same cutthroat approach to managing the U.S. economy.

Clinton, standing next to the shuttered Trump Plaza casino that Trump once owned, said the real estate developer routinely profited from the financial ruin of thousands of workers in the economically depressed seaside resort town.

"The people he's trying to convince to vote for him are the same people he's been exploiting for years - working people," Clinton said.

Clinton said Trump's casino bankruptcies and complaints against him by contractors showed he cannot be trusted to set economic policy from the White House.

"He makes over-the-top promises and says if people trust him, he'll deliver," she said. "Then everything falls apart, people get hurt, and Donald gets paid."

The Trump Plaza was one of four casinos Trump once owned in Atlantic City. He left the city after his last bankruptcy.

Clinton frequently uses criticism of Trump's business record to illustrate a principle campaign theme - that the wealthy New Yorker is only interested in boosting his financial bottom line, and not concerned about the economic struggles of working Americans.

"He intentionally ran up hundreds of millions of debt on his companies, borrowed at high rates, defaulted on the loans, and in the end he bankrupted his companies not once, not twice but four times," she said.

"He always rigged it so he got paid no matter how many people lost their jobs."

Clinton reminded supporters who gathered on the boardwalk under a boiling sun, within steps of the city's beach, that Trump had promised to "do for the country what I did for my business."


Atlantic City has struggled economically in recent years as a series of casinos have closed. The city's 10 percent unemployment rate is nearly double the national average, and closed buildings pockmark its boardwalk.

Trump has defended his bankruptcy filings on casinos and other projects as legitimate legal avenues designed to help businesses manage their debts. He tweeted before Clinton's speech that Atlantic City's Democratic leaders were to blame for the city's struggling economy.

Trump also issued an email statement defending his bankruptcies as a commonly used practice to restructure a business and ultimately save jobs.

"I created thousands of jobs and made a lot of money in Atlantic City, which was what, as a businessman, I am supposed to do for my company and my family- and as President I will make America rich again," he said.

After the speech, Clinton drove a few blocks to shake hands with striking workers outside the Trump Taj Mahal, another of the casinos that Trump once owned.

Her attack on Trump's business dealings came as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee blasted her integrity following an FBI report that criticized her use of private email during her tenure as secretary of state.

On Tuesday, FBI Director James Comey said the agency would recommend no criminal charges against Clinton for her use of private email servers. But Comey rebuked her for what he said was "extremely careless" handling of classified material on her email servers, and contradicted her claims that she never transmitted or received classified material on that email system.

Republican lawmakers criticized Comey for what they saw as lax treatment of Clinton, and on Wednesday, committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Republican, announced that Comey will testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday to explain the bureau's "surprising and confusing" recommendation.

Clinton did not address the FBI's announcement regarding its year-long probe into her email practices.

The FBI has been investigating whether Clinton broke the law as result of personal email servers kept in her Chappaqua, New York, home while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, including whether she mishandled classified information on the servers.

(By John Whitesides; Additional reporting by Alana Wise in Washington; Editing by Bill Trott)