Donald Trump kept up his unprecedentedly aggressive campaign rhetoric Saturday, saying opponent Hillary Clinton should be in jail and that the media is trying to "rig" the election by reporting on numerous women who have accused him of unwanted sexual advances.
"We can't let them get away with this, folks," Trump told a crowd in Portsmouth, N.H., echoing that this "looks like a rigged election."
In the days since a parade of women began coming forward to claim Trump touched them inappropriately, the Republican presidential nominee has called them liars and even criticized their looks. At one point Saturday, Trump described one of his accusers as "this crazy woman on the airplane."
Trump has also amped up his allegations against Clinton over contributions to the Clinton Foundation and her private email system while in the State Department.
"Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted and gone to jail for what she did," Trump said at a second rally Saturday in Bangor, Maine, again denouncing "a totally rigged election."
As in New Hampshire, Trump followers cheered and chanted "lock her up!"
Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted and should be in jail. Instead she is running for president in what looks like a rigged election— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2016
Four days before his third and final debate against Clinton, Trump again questioned his opponent's health and suggested she may have taken drugs to get "pumped up" during last week's face-off in St. Louis. He proposed a drug test before Wednesday's event in Las Vegas.
Clinton supporters said Trump's talk about jail and rigged elections reflect a campaign that is imploding, and is now promoting conspiracy theories ginned up by right-wing media outlets.
"Is Trump running for President anymore or auditioning for a TV network post-election to monetize his cultivation of the alt-right movement?" tweeted Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon.
Is Trump running for President anymore or auditioning for a TV network post-election to monetize his cultivation of the alt-right movement?— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) October 15, 2016
Trump's conspiracy claims have been picked up by some of his aides. Jeff Sessions, a U.S. senator from Alabama, told the crowd in Portsmouth: "They are attempting to rig this election"
Citing that comment, Fallon said: "Every Republican must be asked whether they agree with Trump and Sessions on this. Starting with (House Speaker) Paul Ryan."
Some Republicans have long criticized Trump, and have stepped it up in recent days.
Referring to the businessman's request that supporters become poll watchers to guard against alleged voter fraud, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., tweeted Saturday that "freedom-loving Americans repudiate anybody who says they want to make lawful voters 'a little bit nervous' at polls."
Republican strategist Mike Murphy, who headed up a pro-Jeb Bush Super PAC during the Republican primaries, went after a Trump tweet that said Clinton should have been jailed and that the election is rigged.
"Trump is now attacking our Democracy," Murphy said on Twitter. "Any Elected R who doesn't condemn this anti-American thug will carry a moral stain forever."
Campaigns have long been rough-and-tumble, but there is no modern example of a major party nominee talking about throwing his opponent in jail, or accusing the political establishment of rigging the system against him.
"Angry and desperate," said Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire.
Either Trump "is so deluded at this point that he thinks this could actually work," Scala said, or "he wants his followers to keep following him after this election is over."
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook also accused Trump of trying to suppress the vote, but predicted the effort would fail: "Participation in the system — and particularly voting — should be encouraged, not dismissed or undermined because a candidate is afraid he’s going to lose. This election will have record turnout, because voters see through Donald Trump’s shameful attempts to undermine an election weeks before it happens."
After New Hampshire, Trump traveled to his second rally in Maine — a state that uses a unique system to award its four electoral votes. The statewide winner gets two electoral votes, while the candidate who gets the most votes in each of the state's congressional districts get one vote per district.
While Clinton leads statewide, Trump has led surveys in the congressional district that includes Bangor, where the nominee spoke Saturday.
Dan Shea, professor of government at Maine's Colby College, said he would be surprised if Trump keeps visiting Maine in pursuit of a single electoral vote, given the slippage he has seen in big states like Florida and North Carolina.
"He's got other fish to fry," Shea said.
Copyright 2016 KING