Senate Democrats’ opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is fueled by “rage,” President Donald Trump said Thursday night at another raucous campaign rally, this time in Minnesota.
Trump again criticized Democrats for their handling of sexual assault allegations against his high court nominee less than 24 hours before a planned procedural vote that is expected to tee up a make-or-break Saturday confirmation vote.
The president dinged the minority-party senators for what he called their “rage-filled” opposition to Kavanaugh joining the court and tilting it, by one vote, to the right.
“We want Kavanaugh! We want Kavanaugh!” chanted the crowd in Rochester, many wearing “Make America Great Again” gear or holding up pro-Trump signs.
The president again made clear that recent pro-Kavanaugh polls in key states influenced his decision this week to double down on defending the nominee and criticizing his accusers. He made note of those surveys, saying the numbers keep going “up and up.”
The president also hailed his new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, telling the crowd it would replace the “job-killing” North American Free Trade Agreement he dubbed a “disaster.”
“This is tremendous for Minnesota,” he said, arguing that the pact would benefit the state’s farmers. Congress must first sign off, with votes expected next year when Democrats could control one or both chambers.
He urged the audience to vote next month and send more Republicans to Washington. “The only reason to vote Democrat,” he said, “is if you’re tired of winning.”
Trump ostensibly was in Minnesota to stump for several GOP House candidates after holding fundraisers for his party.
The president jetted to Rochester, after meeting with donors in St. Paul to campaign for Rep. Jason Lewis, who is in a close race with Democratic-Farmer-Labor nominee Angie Craig. Inside Elections with with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Tilts Democratic. He will also stump for GOP candidate Jim Hagedorn, who is trying to capture the open 1st District seat that Democrats have held for a dozen years. Inside Elections rates his race against DFL nominee Dan Feehan a Toss-up.
Notably, Rep. Erik Paulsen is not attending the rally. Paulsen at times has criticized Trump, dubbing his performance alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin during their Helsinki summit “embarrassing.”
Republicans are hoping to make gains in a state that typically has been friendly to Democrats. Trump lost it to Hillary Clinton in 2016 by less than 2 points. Republican leaders are hoping the president still has coattails there after over-performing two years ago.
“So this is supposed to be a Democrat state. I don’t think so,” Trump said at the start of the event to roars from the crow. “They’re in for a big surprise.”
Trump also weighed in on one of the state’s Senate races, saying DFL Sen. Tina Smith favors “criminal” alien migrants over American citizens. He urged the crowd to vote for Republican Karin Housley, whom he greeted onstage.
Trump then handed the microphone to Lewis, who called for additional tax cuts as the president nodded. He also said Trump has instituted “free trade and fair trade” and trumpeted his judicial appointments, including Kavanaugh. When he mentioned the nominee, the crowd erupted.
When it was his turn, Hagedorn told Trump the Minnesota DFL Party has “moved far to the left” and “want to take us back to Obama and then some.” He said that, if elected, he would be “a partner to you, Mr. President.”
The president described their opponents as “extreme” candidates who favor “criminal aliens” and “gang members.”
In a comment that supports conclusions in several books about his ignorance about the actual duties of the presidency, Trump told the audience the job is “a lot more work than anybody knew.”
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