WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New York businessman and possible Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called U.S. political leadership “stupid” and used the “F” word several times in remarks in Las Vegas on Thursday.
According to videos of the remarks, Trump’s speech at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino targeted the U.S. relationship with China, OPEC countries, and Saudi Arabia, while lauding his own accomplishments.
“When people are screwing you, you don’t give them state dinners,” Trump said of China. “We have weak, pathetic leadership. We have incompetent leadership.”
“Our leaders are stupid,” Trump said. “They are stupid people. Its very, very sad.”
Trump’s political spokesman Michael Cohen defended his boss’s choice of language and his tone in the speech.
“Mr Trump was asked to speak in Las Vegas and he clearly felt very strongly about the topic,” Cohen said. “Mr. Trump is a patriot — nothing gets him madder that watching America fall apart in front of his nose.”
Trump has not officially declared his candidacy although he has made appearances in New Hampshire, the first primary state, and is putting together what appears to be a campaign team.
A Treasure Island Hotel and Casino Spokeswoman said that at least 1,000 people attended the event in a ballroom provided by Trump’s friend, business partner and owner of the resort Phil Ruffin.
Trump used the “F” word several times during the speech and made at least one bawdy joke about male testicles. He also said that he would put tariffs on Chinese imports. “Listen mother———, we’re going to tax you 25 percent,” he said.
Reporting by Wendell Marsh, additional reporting in New York by Mark Egan, Edited by Greg McCune