MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Donald Trump launched a familiar attack against Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday, saying the lawmaker from Vermont made an arrangement that he shouldn't have when he decided to support Hillary Clinton for president. But this time, his word choice was more aggressively critical of Clinton.
"He made a deal with the devil. She's the devil," Trump said of Sanders and Clinton.
Trump made his comments at an evening rally here. He steered clear of the firestorm over his criticism of the Muslim American parents of an Army officer killed in Iraq 12 years ago. Trump drew forceful criticism Monday for his attacks from decorated combat veterans, members of Congress and family members of slain soldiers. The blowback to his criticism has been bipartisan.
Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, was questioned at a Nevada event by a military mother who asked whether he would confront Trump over the "disrespect" Trump has shown to veterans and Khzir and Ghazala Khan, the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan. She was booed by the crowd.
Pence, who has a son in the Marines, politely fielded the question and praised the woman's son for serving. He argued that Trump has the back of the military and veterans.
Many of the mogul's supporters who showed up here in Pennsylvania seemed unfazed by the controversies involving other Trump remarks, many of which have stoked criticism from Clinton and other Democrats and Republicans. Among them: his praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his calls for Russia to retrieve and post Clinton's private emails.
"I like everything Trump says," said York resident Bob Bingaman, 74, who is a full-time custodian at a high school. "I just don't think the Putin stuff matters. If he is trying to help Trump, I'm glad for it. I think the stuff Trump said about the emails was a joke."
"None of it bothers me," said 65-year-old Vickie Myers, an area resident. "I think the standards of what people can say has changed. It's not Trump that did that. That started with social media. People say whatever they like."
Trump took the stage late. There was a huge downpour before the doors opened. But it did nothing to diminish the crowd, which an hour later stretched four or five football fields long. Before the rally started, there were about a dozen protesters outside.
As he has before, Trump insisted that his campaign should ultimately be judged a failure if he does not prevail at the ballot box.
"If we don't win on Nov. 8, I will consider this a tremendous waste of time, energy and money," he said.
The mogul's campaign has experienced many personnel changes in recent months. It confirmed Monday that there has been another move: Ed Brookover and Trump have gone their separate ways.
"The campaign has parted ways with Ed, but we are thankful to him for his many contributions and appreciate his continued support," said Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks in a statement. Politico first reported that Brookover was no longer on the team.
Before working for Trump, Brookover managed Ben Carson's presidential campaign.
Sullivan reported from Washington. Philip Rucker in Washington contributed to this report.