Donald Trump’s new moniker: ‘I am the law and order candidate’

Donald Trump declared himself the “law-and-order candidate” and called for the end of violence against the nation’s police officers at a campaign rally Monday in Virginia.

Speaking in the aftermath of police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota and the murders of five police officers in Dallas, the likely GOP presidential contender said he would be the “candidate of compassion” who could restore order to crime-plagued cities.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump addresses the audience at a campaign event at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, N.C. Earlier in the day Hillary Clinton campaigned in Charlotte with President Barack Obama. Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

“We must maintain law and order at the highest level, or we will cease to have a country. One hundred percent, we will cease to have a country. I am the law and order candidate,” he said at the rally.

He continued with an attack on presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton:

“Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is weak, ineffective, pandering, and as proven by her recent e-mail scandal, which was an embarrassment, not only to her, but to the entire nation as a whole, she’s either a liar or grossly incompetent. One or the other.”

Trump’s comments, a week before the start of the Republican National Convention, are a blunt reminder that the gathering is likely to focus on law-and-order themes in a turbulent time.

Clinton, who is preparing to receive the formal endorsement of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday, has embraced the “Black Lives Matter” slogan in her social media messaging and said last week’s violence is a wakeup call that should be “deeply troubling” for every American.

She has also launched a separate attack on Trump accusing him of consistently showering praise on brutal dictators.

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Starting in Iowa and New Hampshire, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has brought you every key moment in the 2016 presidential race. A team of AJC journalists will be at this month’s Republican and Democratic national conventions, continuing to provide that deep coverage.

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