SARASOTA, Fla. — Donald Trump hammered Hillary Clinton in the final hours before Election Day as corrupt and urged voters to “deliver justice at the ballot box,” while Clinton pivoted away from the email controversy that has dogged her campaign and suggested Monday that early voter turnout was breaking her way.
Trump started his day in Florida, a must-win state for the Republican nominee, after FBI Director James B. Comey said that the bureau had completed its examination of newly discovered emails connected to Clinton, an inquiry that had roiled the presidential race.
Comey said Sunday that the FBI found nothing to alter its months-old decision not to seek charges against the former secretary of state for her use of a private email server.
Clinton ignored the email affair on Monday, and instead spoke of her vision of an America animated by “more love and kindness.”
She went out of her way to avoid saying Trump’s name during her remarks, but still blasted her Republican opponent as “temperamentally” and “experientially” unfit.
“We don’t have to accept a dark and divisive vision for America,” Clinton said. “Tomorrow you can vote for a hopeful, inclusive, big-hearted America.”
Trump, meanwhile, painted a bleak picture of an America under Clinton, warning of imminent “disaster,” a hobbled economy and a politics dominated by special interests if she prevailed Tuesday.
“You have one magnificent chance to beat the corrupt system and deliver justice,” Trump said. “Do not let this opportunity slip away.”
Earlier Monday, her campaign manager Robby Mook criticized Comey’s handling of the probe as “bizarre,” even as he said that he was relieved by the outcome.
“We were glad obviously that this was resolved,” Mook told “Good Morning America” on ABC. “I don’t understand why he couldn’t have just looked into the matter and resolved it and not created such a ruckus in the campaign but we’re just glad in this last day Hillary can get back on the road.”
In July, Comey ended an FBI probe into the server saying that Clinton was “extremely careless” with classified information in the emails, but that “no reasonable prosecutor” would recommend criminal charges. A government official said Comey’s latest letter represented the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation.
Trump, who had been trailing badly in the polls when the new emails were revealed, has since narrowed the gap, leaning on a message that Clinton was “crooked” and likely to be charged.
But Clinton appears is narrowly ahead in most polls, and Clinton campaign officials pointed to heavy turnout among Hispanics and Asians in crucial swing states, such as Florida and North Carolina, as evidence that the race was moving in their direction.
More than 6.4 million voters in Florida have voted early, up nearly 35 percent over 2012, according to the Clinton campaign, with big early surges in majority Hispanic Miami Dade county. More broadly the Clinton campaign said that early voter turnout was breaking records — with more than 41 million Americans casting ballots before Election Day
“We are on the path to see more Americans vote than we have ever seen in our history,” Clinton said in Pittsburgh. “If the lines are long tomorrow please wait.”
Both Trump and Clinton boasted busy schedules Monday, appearing within hours of each other in Grand Rapids, Mich. and Raleigh N.C, as the race enters its final day.
The appearances reflect an electoral map that seemed to shift in the wake of Comey’s announcement of the new emails nine days earlier. Clinton, who had been trying to expand the electoral map by focusing on red states that included Georgia and Arizona, has turned back to defend blue turf such as Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Before boarding her plane, Clinton conceded to reporters that one of her biggest challenges if she wins the White House will be uniting a polarized country.
“I really do want to be the president for everybody,” Clinton said. The splits in the country, she added, have been “exacerbated” by the Trump campaign.
“We’re just going to work until the last vote is counted,” Clinton said. “We are on a good track.”
On Monday, Clinton will appear in three states: North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan. She will finish the day with a rally in Philadelphia that includes President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, followed by a midnight speech in Raleigh, N.C.
The Clinton campaign is also leaning heavily on the president and Michelle Obama to drum up enthusiasm and spur voter turnout on election day.
President Obama appeared in Michigan several hours ahead of Clinton and used his remarks to praise the Democratic nominee and tout his work in the first term to bolster the country’s then-sputtering auto industry.
“I think I’ve earned some credibility here,” Obama said of his efforts to shore up the auto industry. When it comes to voting to Clinton on Tuesday, he continued, “I am asking you to trust me on this one.”
Trump campaign officials said that they were making gains in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, driven by a big turnout in non-college-educated white voters.
In Florida, Trump claimed without presenting any evidence that he was doing better than expected among African Americans and Hispanics. In fact, there are signs that strong Hispanic turnout could provide a big boost to Clinton. Polls have shown black and Hispanic voters overwhelmingly favor Clinton.
Trump has been praised in recent days for avoiding the kind of insults and outbursts that had alienated voters in the past. A New York Times article on Sunday said that campaign aides have wrested away control of Trump’s Twitter account, which the candidate had used to shoot himself in the metaphorical foot.
His campaign manager Kellyanne Conway denied the report, saying on Monday that Trump was continuing to tweet his thoughts without a campaign filter.
In the last few days of the campaign, Trump has decided to invest time and resources in blue-leaning states, including Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Most recent opinion polls show Clinton leading in all three, but Trump is hoping for a surge among white voters who lack college degrees.
Trump’s schedule reflects his tough position — needing to win a string of states where the race is either tied or he is behind. He will hold five rallies in a day, jetting from Florida to North Carolina to Pennsylvania to New Hampshire and then to Michigan.
Trump insisted that polls showing him trailing in key states, such as Pennsylvania were wrong and part of a broader media conspiracy to undermine his campaign.
“The miners are going to come out. The steelworkers who lost their jobs are going to come out,” Trump said on Monday. “The women are going to come out big. It is all a phony deal. They are telling you a lot of phony stuff.”
Jaffe reported from Washington and Gearan from Pittsburgh.