Donald Trump dismantled his teleprompter at a Friday night rally in North Carolina, and told the audience he wouldn’t pay the company that provided the faulty equipment.
“Here’s the way government works – so the telemproter is a bummer, it doesn’t work. That means the company doing the telepromoter is in the back, that means they didn’t do a good job. So I won’t pay them,” Trump said to cheers in Charlotte.
“And tomorrow, I’ll have a story in the newspaper: ‘Donald Trump did not pay a contractor who put up the teleprompter.’ Well why should I? They don’t work,” he said.
Trump initially started reading from a script, addressing the recent WikiLeaks email dumps and the mounting sexual assault allegations against him from written remarks. But as he spoke about his most recent controversy, he pivoted to a more freewheeling speech and later admitted to the crowd the teleprompters had broken.
“I like it better without the teleprompter,” he said, walking over to one on his right and knocking the glass of its stand.
A few minutes after the first one fell, he unscrewed the second teleprompter screen from its stand and removed it, lamenting that his staff insists he use a script at events.
“I went through 17 professional politicians, top people, and I went without any teleprompters. Then all of a sudden they said: ‘Well now you are running in the election, you need teleprompters,'” he said.
“I like teleprompters, they are fine, but it’s sort of cooler without it.”
Trump long chided politicians for using teleprompters, which caused his critics to return the favor once he switched to more scripted speeches after he won the nomination over the summer.
But that didn’t stop him from needling Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for using one, hitting her for short speeches and questioning her stamina.
“It’s a little strange, I watch Hillary … she always reads off the teleprompter,” he said.
“It’s short, then she goes home and goes to sleep,” he added of her speeches.