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Your politics briefing: ‘Very thin skin’ in the game

Hillary Clinton delivers a national security address on

Hillary Clinton delivers a national security address on Thursday, June 2, 2016, in San Diego, California, and targets Donald Trump, saying the presumptive GOP candidate is "temperamentally unfit" to be president. Credit: Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

Clinton carpet-bombs Trump

It’s not the hair. Nor is it the size of his hands, which somehow became a topic during the GOP primaries. No, it’s Donald Trump’s “very thin skin,” said Hillary Clinton, that is a chief reason he is “temperamentally unfit” to be president.

Clinton unloaded on Trump in a speech on national security in San Diego Thursday, employing his own words as weapons against him, such as an April musing at a Wisconsin rally about the prospect of a war between North Korea and Japan. (“‘If they do, they do. Good luck, enjoy yourself, folks,” he said.)

She called his ideas “dangerously incoherent.” She carpet-bombed Trump with sarcasm, mocking his comments on the leadership qualities of “dictators and strongmen” such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. “I’ll leave it to the psychiatrists to explain his affection for tyrants,” Clinton said.

“This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes — because it’s not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin,” Clinton said. (For full video of speech, click here.)

Trump took exception in an interview with The New York Times during the speech, which he called “terrible” and “pathetic.”

“I’m not thin-skinned at all. I’m the opposite of thin-skinned,” said Trump, who on Wednesday called Clinton “one of the worst secretaries of state in the history of our country.”

He also tweeted of the speech: “Bad performance by Crooked Hillary Clinton! Reading poorly from the telepromter![sic] She doesn’t even look presidential!”

Trump's backers physically attacked

Protesters threw sucker punches, eggs, rocks, water bottles and other objects in attacks on those exiting a Trump rally late Thursday in San Jose. Ugly sights captured on video included the anti-Trumpers burning an American flag and the snatching of a "Make America Great Again" cap from a rally-goer's head. The cap was then burned.

A woman in a Trump jersey could be seen surrounded and pelted with objects. Mexican flags were waved by protesters. There were accounts of an elderly couple surrounded and taunted, and an image of a young man bloodied. Cops moved in after a while and made four or more arrests, the exact number unclear in the immediate wake of the assaults. Trump blamed "a small group of thugs." Clinton campaign spokesman John Podesta tweeted a condemnation of the violence.

Judge’s ethnicity called ‘conflict’

Earlier in the day, Trump played the Hispanic-ethnicity card again when he took verbal aim at the federal judge hearing a lawsuit against Trump University in California. The billionaire claimed Gonzalo Curiel has “an absolute conflict” because he is “of Mexican heritage” and a member of a Latino lawyers’ association.

Trump told The Wall Street Journal [pay site] that Curiel’s ethnicity is relevant because “I’m building a wall” — meaning his plan to seal the U.S.-Mexico border to stop illegal immigration.

Earlier, Trump tweeted that he wants to reopen Trump University. “After the litigation is disposed of and the case won, I have instructed my execs to open Trump U ... so much interest in it! I will be pres,” the tweet said.

 Ryan endorses Trump, skips fanfare

House Speaker Paul Ryan, after a month’s hesitation, gave his support to Trump Thursday. He had been the highest-ranking Republican to not come aboard.

Ryan revealed his decision in an op-ed column in his Wisconsin hometown newspaper. “On the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement,” Ryan wrote, and a President Trump would help make the House Republicans’ “bold policy agenda ... a reality.”

But he also told The Associated Press later, “It is my hope the campaign improves its tone as we go forward and it’s all a campaign we can be proud of.”

McConnell fears Trump fallout

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who endorsed Trump weeks ago, told CNN the presumptive nominee is needlessly hurting the Republican Party’s relationships with Latinos.

“The attacks that he’s routinely engaged in, for example, going after Susana Martinez, the Republican governor of New Mexico, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, I think, was a big mistake,” McConnell said.

He also said that if a President Trump asked him to draft a bill to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., “I’d say ‘No, that’s a really bad idea’ ”

The take-away: Grains of salt

Americans are profoundly skeptical of promises by both Trump and Clinton, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.

Fewer than one in four voters in a Quinnipiac poll that came out Thursday surveyed said they believed that Trump, if elected, would actually build a wall on the southern border and have Mexico pay for it. As for Clinton, more than three of five don’t believe she would even try to “remove secret money from politics.”

California coin flip

A new Los Angeles Times poll ahead of the June 7 California Democratic primary has Clinton beating Bernie Sanders 49%-39% among likely voters, but Sanders edging her 44%-43% among registered voters.

Further muddying the picture: She leads 53%-37% among registered Democrats, but he is preferred 48%-35% by independent voters eligible and likely to participate in the primary.

Bernie vs. the math

Sanders may well keep arguing until the Democrats meet in their July convention that he would be stronger candidate against Trump.

But if Sanders won every remaining contest and got every still-uncommitted superdelegate on his side (two endorsed him Thursday), he would still need to persuade almost 200 superdelegates now committed to Clinton to abandon her, according to an analysis by Politico

What else is happening:

  • Long Island hedge fund executive Robert Mercer, who gave $13.5 million to a pro-Ted Cruz super PAC, is being wooed for a pro-Trump super PAC , Bloomberg News reports....
  • For the second time in a week, animal welfare activists disrupted a Sanders rally in California...
  • New York activists are quoted in a Politico story about possible disruptions from Sanders backers inside the Philly convention. They include Allen Roskoff, a well-known LGBT agitator, and Linda Sarsour,who runs the Arab-American Association of New York.... 
  • South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, said she wished Trump communicated differently because bad things result from divisive rhetoric, citing last June’s massacre at a black church in Charleston.
  • Before taking over as the Republican National Committee’s Hispanic media director, Helen Aguirre Ferré deleted tweets critical of Trump. Her predecessor quit over discomfort with Trump...
  • A Trump tweet that Clinton’s “temperament is bad” drew a retort from trash TV host Jerry Springer: “C’mon Donald ... You complaining about Hillary’s temperament is like me complaining about the quality of television!”...

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