Back on the road in Iowa on Wednesday night, President Donald Trump at a campaign-style rally signaled he is unconcerned with garnering Democratic support on legislation and warned foes they are “lucky” his supporters are not the protesting kind.
The president returned to the combative and provocative style he used during the 2016 GOP primary and general election campaigns, blasting his critics and making statements like this one, to loud applause, of the Paris Climate Agreement: “Like hell its non-binding.”
In the wake of last week’s shooting at congressional Republicans’ morning baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., Trump has called for unity. But on Wednesday night, the president seemed unconcerned with bringing Republicans and Democrats together to pass legislation.
As he has done frequently in recent days, he labeled congressional Democrats “obstructionists,” and said if a health overhaul bill hit the Senate floor today, “we wouldn’t get one Democrat.”
Trump acknowledged his comments will make it tough to get Democratic support on any bill. But, in a remarkable comment about the opposition party from a sitting chief executive, he added with a wave of his hand: “But who cares?”
Later during his speech, paradoxically, Trump said it would be “great” if Republicans and Democrats would join forces to pass legislation. His optimism, however, was short-lived: minutes later he said of the two parties coming together, “I don’t think they will.”
Clearly feeling comfortable again surrounded by thousands of supporters in a GOP-friendly state, the president ticked off what he views as a list of accomplishments. He bashed the media and Justice Department for a “phony witch hunt,” referring to the Russia scandal and special counsel probe that hangs over his presidency. And, in his signature style, also made a number of promises.
Trump vowed to a campaign rally crowd in Iowa “major, major tax cuts,” and said Rep.-elect Karen Handel, R-Ga., would soon arrive to help deliver on that pledge. If a final GOP tax plan is “the way I want it,” the U.S. will have “one of the lowest” tax rates in the world,” he said, not specifying if he was talking about individual or corporate rates.
He also promised, to tepid applause, to preserve the federal safety net — something some lawmakers in his own party want to overhaul. And he vowed to build his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall, noting “I’m a builder.” And he floated the idea of erecting it with solar panels “so that it pays for himself” and “so that Mexico will have to pay much less money.”
Knowing his audience, Trump promised to fight to terminate the so-called “death tax” so Iowans and others can pass on their farms and ranches to family members. “We’re working on it,” he said, noting he is unsure if he can get it through Congress.
The president, who often bemoans Democrats who stage protests against him and his agenda, received one of his biggest applauses of the night when he made a veiled reference to what would happen if his supporters held such protests.
“They’re very lucky our people don’t protest,” Trump said, “believe me.”