Politics

Trump Tries to Rally Republican Voters in Georgia House Race

President credits China for turning back coal, oil shipments from North Korea

President Donald Trump criticized Democratic House candidate Jon Ossoff on Tuesday morning, urging GOP voters to get to the polls in Georgia's 6th District special election in big numbers. He painted Ossoff as a tax-hiker and "weak" on crime. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is urging Republican voters in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District to hit the polls in big numbers Tuesday, warning Democrat Jon Ossoff would “flood our country with illegal immigrants.”

And in an interview that aired early Tuesday morning, Trump flashed his dealmaker in chief approach to diplomacy when he credited China’s attempts to convince North Korea to drop its missile and nuclear arms programs.

With all eyes on the competitive Georgia special election to fill a seat that long has been safely Republican, Trump for the second consecutive day weighed in as Republicans try to prevent Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff from hitting the 50-percent threshold. If he fails to do so, he would enter a runoff with the Republican candidate in a crowded field who gets the most votes.

[Trump Hits Georgia Democratic Candidate, Media in Tweets]

Trump appeared to rise early Tuesday, in time for the 6 a.m. airing of his “Fox & Friends” interview taped on Monday. That aired shortly after the top of the hour, and at 6:38 a.m., the president fired off a tweet that warned “Democrat Jon Ossoff would be a disaster in Congress.”

He called the first-time candidate “VERY weak on crime and illegal immigration” and “bad for jobs.” He also warned Ossoff supports higher taxes, warning voters there to “Say NO”.

One way registered GOP voters in GA-06 can prevent Ossoff from winning the seat outright on Tuesday is to turn out in large numbers, making it difficult for Democrats, independents and any aisle-crossing Republicans to push Ossoff over the 50-percent mark.

“Republicans must get out today and VOTE in Georgia 6. Force runoff and easy win!” Trump tweeted continued several minutes later.

In a robocall made to voters in the district on Monday, Trump warned that Ossoff would “raise your taxes, destroy your health care, and flood our country with illegal immigrants.

In the Fox interview, Trump credited China with turning back coal and oil shipments from North Korea in its attempts to convince the Hermit Kingdom to drop offensive weapons programs.

Trump again expressed hope that Chinese President Xi Jinping can convince Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s supreme leader, to give up his missile and atomic arms programs. But the still-new U.S. commander in chief also did not rule out using American military force to try and change Kim’s behavior or even disarm him.

“So, I’m dealing with China with great respect. I have great respect for him,” Trump said of Xi. “We’ll see what he can do. Maybe he won’t be able to help. … That’s a whole different story.”

Trump again declined to say if he is willing order a military strike on North Korea, saying he does not want to “telegraph” his moves or even what he is considering.

“Unlike other administrations where they say, ‘We’re going to do this in four weeks,’ and that doesn’t work that way. We’ll see what happens,” he said.

“I hope things work out well. I hope there’s peace. But, you know, they've been talking with this gentleman for a long time,” he said of previous American presidents and their teams.

He then pointed to former President Bill Clinton’s post-White House memoir as an example: “He said, ‘We made such a great peace deal,’ but it was a joke.”

Kim succeeded his father, Kim Jong-il, taking power in April 2012. Clinton left office in January 2001, meaning he never negotiated any deal with Kim Jong-un, who was a teenager during much of Clinton’s presidency.

Trump was critical also of former President Barack Obama and his other recent predecessors, saying, “You look at different things over the years with President Obama, everybody’s been outplayed, they’ve all been outplayed by this gentleman. And we’ll see what happens.”

Before his 24-hour summit at his Florida resort with Xi, Trump had harshly panned China as a currency manipulator. But since asking for the Chinese leader’s help with North Korea, Trump has dropped the charge

[(VIDEO) White House Watch: Trump Doctrine? There Isn’t One]

“I didn’t soften my stance,” Trump told Fox. “Look, China came to the United States, their president, who I really developed a very good relationship with. … He understands it’s (North Korea) a big problem. He’s working on it.

“What am I going to do, start a trade war with China in the middle of him working on a bigger problem with North Korea?” Trump asked rhetorically.

Notably, he lauded Xi’s government for taking some actions intended to get Kim’s attention while also showing just how obsessed he and his team are with the media’s coverage of his presidency.

“This is the fake media that just does a number. He’s working so nicely,” Trump said. “Many coal ships are being sent back. Fuel is being sent back.

Nobody's ever seen such a positive response on our behalf from China,” he said. “And then the fake media goes, ‘Donald Trump has changed his stance on China.’ I haven’t changed my stance. China is trying to help us.”

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