COLUMBUS, Ohio — Hillary Clinton said Monday in the wake of her no-holds-barred debate against rival Donald Trump that she doesn’t believe he was contrite about a leaked audio in which he made lewd sexual comments about women.
“Donald Trump spent his time attacking when he should have been apologizing,” the presidential nominee said of the town hall-style faceoff.
In the audio recording, made in 2005, Trump was caught on a hot microphone bragging about groping women and saying his fame allowed him to “do anything” to them.
Trump, a Manhattan real estate mogul, apologized for his comments at the debate Sunday at Washington University in St. Louis, but characterized them several times as “locker room talk.”
Clinton sought to capitalize on the line at a rally of 3,500 supporters at Wayne State University in Detroit.
“When he was pressed about how he behaves, he just doubled down on his excuse that it’s just locker room banter,” the former secretary of state said. “Well, I’ll tell you what, women and men across America know that is just a really weak excuse for behaving badly and mistreating people.”
At his own rally Monday at Ambridge, Pennsylvania, Republican nominee Trump said: “If they want to release more tapes saying inappropriate things, we’ll continue to talk about Bill and Hillary Clinton doing inappropriate things.”
He was referencing sexual assault allegations by women — some of whom he invited to the second debate — against Bill Clinton and his claim that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, was an enabler.
At Monday’s rallies in Detroit and Columbus, Ohio, Clinton did not talk about the female accusers or Trump’s surprise pre-debate news conference featuring their stories. Rather, she tried to spur residents in the early-voting states to register and support her bid for the White House.
In Detroit, she said voters understand the stakes in her race against Trump, while acknowledging the pervasive cynicism about politics.
“That’s what the other side wants you to feel,” Clinton said. “They want you to just say, ‘Well, I’m not going to vote because it’s so nasty.’ That’s the main reason to vote: to make it clear we’re not putting up with that kind of attitude.”
Clinton told the crowd of several thousands gathered in the chilly weather at the South Oval at Ohio State University — one of the biggest rally turnouts of her campaign — that the only way to rebuke Trump is to vote.
“Use the single, most important, fundamental right we have as citizens of America,” she said.
At both rallies in the Midwest, the audience waved her blue campaign signs and volunteers with clipboards worked the crowd, ready to help sign up voters.
Clinton read a statement released by investor Warren Buffett that condemned Trump’s confirmation at the debate that he used a $916 million declaration of loss to avoid federal income taxes for almost 20 years.
Buffett said he has paid taxes every year for 72 years.
“For starters, Warren Buffett is a real billionaire,” Clinton said in an apparent reference to Trump’s failure to release his tax returns and, thus, confirm his income.
Clinton said the nation’s wealthy should pay “their fair share.”
Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks did not respond to an inquiry about Buffett’s remarks.
Katelyn Burkart, 26, a research assistant from Ferndale, Michigan, said at the Detroit rally that Clinton and Trump had presented “two sets of facts” at the debate. Burkhart called Trump a “person who doesn’t know reality.”
She and Jonatan Martinez, 24, of Detroit, a program coordinator, said it will take a long time for the nation to heal from the divisive election.
“It’s going to be rough,” Martinez said. “It’s going to be impossible to heal in the near future.”
Clinton ended her Detroit rally with her campaign slogan that the United States will be “stronger together.”