Trump Would Block AT&T-Time Warner Deal in Media Crackdown

  • Republican says will fund Mexico border wall with legislation
  • Calling them ‘liars,’ Trump says will sue women accusers

Why the AT&T-Time Warner Deal Faces a Political Firewall

Donald Trump said he would block the AT&T Inc.-Time Warner Inc. tie-up if he becomes president, arguing that such media combinations leave too much power concentrated among too few companies, including ones he says are hostile to his presidential bid and rigging the election for Hillary Clinton.

The Republican commented during a speech on Saturday in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, billed as an unveiling of Trump’s “contract with the voter” and prospective actions for his first 100 days. It was heavy on themes and policies outlined earlier in the campaign. They included building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, renegotiating trade deals, repealing Obamacare and reversing the executive actions of President Barack Obama.

Donald Trump in Gettysburg on Oct. 22.

Photographer: Evan Vucci/AP

Trump also suggested he would favor a breakup of NBC and Comcast Corp., a merger completed in 2013. Such deals, he said, are “poison” to democracy and result in companies “telling the voters what to think and what to do.” Trump, who has called the U.S. election rigged multiple times this month, didn’t discuss mergers among non-media companies.

On his signature proposal to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, Trump said he plans to fully fund the project through legislation he called the “End Illegal Immigration Act.” This would leave U.S. taxpayers with the tab “with the full understanding that the country Mexico will be reimbursing the United States,” Trump’s campaign said in a handout, without providing details.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has insisted his country won’t cover any of the costs for a wall.

‘Power Structure’

The billionaire real estate developer focused on the deal for AT&T to buy Time Warner as part of a 14-minute wind-up to the policy portions of the speech, saying the merger would be “an example of the power structure I’m fighting.” AT&T announced Saturday night that it has agreed to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion. AT&T would pay $107.50 a share, with Time Warner shareholders receiving half in cash and half in AT&T stock.

Trump reiterated complaints that the fix is in for the Nov. 8 election because “dishonest mainstream media” favor Democrat Clinton, report on what he says are unproven lies, and don’t talk about the “massive crowd size” at his rallies.

“They’re trying desperately to suppress my vote and the power of the American people,” Trump said. Such tie-ups, he said, are a “poison” to democracy and result in companies “telling the voters what to think and what to do.”

Plan to Sue

The 10 women who have come forward during the past few weeks with allegations of inappropriate sexual contact have “lied” to hurt his campaign, Trump said, adding “all of the liars will be sued after the election.” An 11th woman, adult film actress Jessica Drake, on Saturday described an instance of similar conduct by Trump. Drake’s account was “totally false and ridiculous,” the Trump campaign said in a statement.

The Clinton team seized on Trump’s threat of legal action. “In what was billed as a major closing argument speech, Trump’s major new policy was to promise political and legal retribution against the women who have accused him of groping them,” Christina Reynolds, deputy communications director with Hillary For America, said in an e-mailed response.

Clinton has pulled ahead this month and holds a 6.1 percent lead over Trump in a hypothetical two-way race, according to an average of polls compiled by RealClearPolitics. When third-party candidates are included, Clinton’s lead is 5.3 percent.

On a weekend when both campaigns are focused on so-called battleground states, Trump took his message close to a real battleground, describing the early goals of a potential Trump administration in the town where President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 made one of the most renowned speeches in U.S. history, the Gettysburg Address.

Whirlwind Campaign

Trump invoked Lincoln within a minute of starting his speech. After the event he stopped by the Gettysburg National Military Park, which commemorates a battle that became known as the turning point in the American Civil War when the preservation of the nation hung in the balance.

With less than three weeks until Election Day, and with early voting under way in many states, the Republican is keeping up a whirlwind of appearances.

He reprised many of the campaign’s talking points during a rally at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, including a plan to add hundreds of new ships to the U.S. fleet.

Trump ended Saturday with a campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio, with GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence and Pence’s wife Karen before a crowd of about 7,000. He heads to Naples, Florida, on Sunday.

On Friday Trump told a crowd in Fletcher, North Carolina, “I don’t want to think back: ‘If only I did one more rally, I would have won North Carolina by 500 votes instead of losing it by 200 votes,’ right?”

— With assistance by Sahil Kapur, and Jennifer Jacobs

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