Christine Stuart photo
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy hands some milk to Javion Stuart (Christine Stuart photo)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pulled no punches Saturday when it came to the performance of Connecticut’s Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

“Let me tell you how bad your governor is,” Trump told a crowd of 5,000 Saturday at Sacred Heart University. “He’s a very unpopular guy. He’s done a very poor job for Connecticut.”

Trump suggested voters view their vote for Trump as a vote against Malloy and his economic policies, which Trump said drove General Electric out of Connecticut.

“You’ve gotta vote for Trump just as a signal to your incompetent governor that you’re not going to take it anymore,” Trump said Saturday. “…do it as a protest vote against your governor for losing General Electric.”

After handing out 49 milk cartons to kids at summer lunch program in East Hartford Monday, Malloy also didn’t pull any punches when he called Trump a “fraud.”

“Donald Trump is an out-and-out fraud,” Malloy said. “Let’s start with the fact that he won’t release his tax returns. He’s running for the highest office in the land. He said he would release his tax returns. He acknowledged that was necessary to run for president and he won’t.”

Malloy opined that it’s because the tax returns will show the only one who has ever benefitted from all of his bankruptcies is Donald Trump.

As for criticism that Connecticut failed to retain GE’s headquarters in Fairfield, Malloy said the public would still be howling if he spent $162 million to retain 200 jobs. That $162 million is the amount of money the state of Massachusetts and the city of Boston gave GE in economic incentives to relocate to the Bay State.

Democratic lawmakers have argued that Connecticut’s tax structure and GE’s complaints about it were exaggerated in an effort to make the state a scapegoat. They have said GE traded in its office park in Fairfield in exchange for a more urban environment that better serves its workforce. Republican lawmakers have argued that GE left at least partly because of Connecticut’s tax structure and the lack of predictability in its budget process.

In a press release announcing the company’s departure in January, GE’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt said they chose Boston because they “want to be at the center of an ecosystem that shares our aspirations.” He cited the 55 colleges and universities in the Greater Boston area and the investment the state makes in research and development.

Christine Stuart photo
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (Christine Stuart photo)

Malloy said he’s proud of his record on job creation. He said during his tenure Connecticut has seen the creation of 100,000 private sector jobs and dramatic changes in an education system that’s graduating more kids.

“We’re a healthier state. We’re a safer state experiencing a lowest crime rate in 48 years,” Malloy said. “We’re investing money in infrastructure… so I’m pretty proud of the record.”

Malloy might be proud of his record, but his 24 percent approval rating makes it difficult for Democrats to defend the governor against Trump’s attack.

Top Democrats in the state like U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who was also attacked by Trump for misstating his service during the Vietnam War, and U.S. Reps. Elizabeth Esty, Jim Himes, Joe Courtney, John Larson, and Rosa DeLauro didn’t come to Malloy’s defense on social media Saturday night.

“If Rep. Esty responded every time Donald Trump launched a new attack or made a new outrageous comment, she’d have no time for anything else,” a spokesman for Esty’s campaign, said Monday.

Leigh Appleby, a spokesman for the Connecticut Democratic Party, said Monday the real story is why Republicans are supporting a “presidential nominee who has attacked a Gold Star family, incited violence against his political opponent, and mocked a reporter with a physical disability.”

He said while Malloy and Connecticut Democrats were “making hard choices to balance our state budget, Donald Trump was bankrupting businesses and driving them into the ground. While Dan Malloy was working with the Democratic legislature to raise the minimum wage and guarantee earned sick time, Donald Trump was stiffing and shortchanging the people who worked for him. And while Dan Malloy and Democrats were improving Connecticut’s education system, Donald Trump was being sued for running the bogus Trump University.”

Meanwhile, Malloy visited Sunset Ridge School in East Hartford to tout the success of a summer meal program. The program has expanded from 536 sites to 714 sites over the past six years. The sites serve breakfast and lunch to children under the age of 18 during the summer months when school is not in session.

In 2015, the program fed 41,676 children and served a total of 1,924,450 meals across the state.

The program is funded mostly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.