President Donald Trump will make final pleas Monday to voters in three battleground states — Ohio, Indiana and Missouri — as he tries to boost Republican candidates with control of the House and Senate on the line in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
The president, who will first appear in Cleveland at 2:45 p.m., has used his rallies and other public remarks to criticize Democrats on a range of issues, with immigration front and center.
Roll Call will provide frequent updates and analysis of Trump’s final day on the 2018 campaign trail. Please check back throughout the day and evening. (Note: All times are Eastern.)
11:46 p.m. – “We are one people, one family, and one glorious nation under God,” Trump said. “We will make America wealthy again. We will make America strong strong again. We will make America safe again. And we will make America great again. Thank you, Missouri. Thank you.” And with that, the 2018 midterms campaign – mercifully – comes to an end in southeast Missouri. The usual Rolling Stones tune is playing for a third time Monday, just minutes before it will be Tuesday – Election Day.
11:22 p.m. – “Tomorrow, we’re going to call Sen. McCaskil ‘fired,'” Hawley said as the crowd roared its agreement. The latest polls showed her with a slight lead, however.
11:21 p.m. – After a lengthy delay for another fainting audience member, Trump criticized incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill over her opposition to his agenda items – and vote against Kavanaugh. Her opponent, state Attorney General Josh Hawley, criticized her votes on “far-left environmental” measures and other bills. He mocked her for suggesting Russia might have played a role in Trump’s election. “Four more years!” the crowd chanted.
10:54 p.m. – “‘The deplorables’ are the greatest people on Earth,” he said, using a word Hillary Clinton did for his supporters during the 2016 campaign. “They’re the smartest.”
10:18 p.m. (Cape Girardeau rally) – Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, a Cape Girardeau native, is on stage firing up the crowd. So far, the migrant caravans are “a matter of law,” and “only” Trump could draw the kinds of rally crowds he does. “The bond that exists between you and everyone else who has been to a Trump rally is something every politician envies,” he said. What’s more, no one in Washington “has taken the time to learn,” Limbaugh added.
7:52 p.m. – The few protesters outside the White House are chanting, “Ride the blue wave.” Of course, that assumes there will be one.
7:34 p.m. – Donnelly campaign manager issues a statement thanking Trump for “keeping thousands of committed Braun supporters off the phones and doors the night before the election. In an election this close, every little bit helps.”
7:22 p.m. – “We will not be intimidated by mob rule,” Trump said, referring to Democrats. He worked methodically through his stump speech’s usual long and winding ending and ends his remarks five minutes later after urging the crowd to take their family members and neighbors to the polls. There is the usual Stones walk-off tune. Next stop: Cape Girardeau, Missouri. T-minus four hours and 33 minutes until it’s officially Election Day, folks. Finally.
7:09 p.m. – “This election is about security, and this election is about jobs,” Trump says, summarizing his themes and warnings while barnstorming through eight states in the campaign’s final days.
7:01 p.m. – The president has been interrupted three times – so far – by protesters. “Get them the hell out of here,” he said the third time as he walked to the stage’s edge to watch law enforcement lead the person out. This is rare for a Trump rally. “That’s Indiana for you,” he said. “Go on back home to mom,” he told the departing protester mockingly.
6:50 p.m. – Like her boss, Conway drops this eyebrow-raising line: “It’s starting to feel a lot like 2016…”
6:46 p.m. – Trump handed the presidential podium over to two White House aides, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and counselor Kellyanne Conway. “You’ll have to forgive Kellyanne and I, we’re not used to friendly crowds,” Sanders quipped, referring to their interactions with the media. She got a pop from the crowd. She also mentioned she is a mother. Trump called three women on stage in the Hoosier State, including daughter Ivanka Trump, in an apparent push to turn out GOP women on Tuesday.
6:35 p.m. – Trump carried on a few minutes-long, one-sided argument with the television cameras, saying “they won’t turn the cameras” to show the size of the crowd in the arena. The crowd cheered and cheered as he ripped the media. It wasn’t long before a loud “U-S-A!” chant broke out.
6:29 p.m. – The crowd tells the story here, booing and jeering as the president ripped one of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s accusers who has said her allegation was false.
“Lock her up!” the audience chanted of that Kavanaugh accuers as the presdient egged them on. “Take a look at the other ones, folks,” Trump said of other women who have accused him of sexual misconduct. Some polls in key races tightened during the jurist’s contentious confirmation hearings. The Fort Wayne crowd reflected Republican voters’ feelings about how Kavanaugh was, in their eyes, treated unfairly by Senate Democrats.
6:24 p.m. (Fort Wayne rally) – Off and running at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, with at least one mention of his 2016 win. And some early gloom-and-doom warnings.
“They can take it apart just as fast as we built it,” Trump warned of Democrats to boos. “A vote for Democrats is a vote to bring this economic boon crashing down rapidly.” He again falsely accused Democratic candidates of proposing to implement socialism, and he again excluded any mention of his veto pen that could block any such legislation.
5:30 p.m., Part II – How will he respond if Democrats win the House? “We’ll just have to work a little bit differently,” he told reporters.
5:30 p.m., Part I – Air Force One has landed in Fort Wayne. Before he left for rally No. 2 of the day, he again spoke to reporters. They asked if he is concerned Democrats will release his tax returns if they win the House. “I don’t care,” he claimed. “They can do whatever they want and I can do whatever I want.” He has resisted releasing his tax records, with White House aides contending he is still in the midst of what would be a lengthy IRS audit.
3:57 p.m. – “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” by the Rolling Stones plays as the president has wrapped his remarks in Cleveland. Next stop: Fort Wayne, Indiana, where Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly is in a tight race with Republican Mike Braun that Inside Elections with Nathan Gonzales rates a Toss-up.
3:51 p.m. – “Something’s going on,” Trump said at the top and late in the Cleveland rally of his feeling – at least publicly – that Republicans are going to defy expectations. He said similar things in the final days of his shocking 2016 presidential campaign. Perhaps the president has seen this report, which calculates Democrats’ lead in generic ballot polls is not enough to capture the House majority.
3:38 p.m. – Trump warned, as he has for weeks, that he will not allow members of two approaching migrant caravans into the country. He returned to his brash rhetoric, warning undocumented migrants would bring crime – and saying Democrats want to give them voting rights. He bragged about the number of deportations under his watch – but left out that former President Barack Obama sent home so many that experts dubbed him the “deporter-in-chief.”
3:22 p.m. – “I will never call a woman beautiful again,” Trump said to boos, mocking what he sees as a culture that has gotten too politically correct. He said he was referring to his daughter and White House adviser, Ivanka Trump. He called her up, and she told the crowd her father has given them “a voice.” As she left the stage, the president quipped: “I never said she was beautiful. But she’s so smart.” He noted her teachers always told him she made good grades. “Which is good, too,” the visually minded Trump said.
3:16 p.m. – Trump hailed Rep. Jim Jordan, the House Freedom Caucus founding chairman – but he did not say whether he wants Jordan to be the next House GOP leader. “I love him defending me on television. … He doesn’t give a damn. He’s a bulldog. Point by point – boom, boom, boom,” Trump said. “He’s a champion.”
3:11 p.m. – The president, for the second time Monday, acknowledged the midterms are, in a big way, about him and his unique apprach. “In a sense, I am on the ticket. You got to go out and vote.”
3:03 p.m. (Cleveland) – Trump, as he has done in his final weeks on the trail, looked forward to his 2020 re-election bid shortly after kicking things off at stop No. 1. He noted the strong state of the economy, then said he thinks he’ll do okay “whenever they pick their far-left candidate.” That is singular candidate, meaning his 2020 general election foe. And he flashed – yet again – his television-based approach to the job: “We have a lot of good sound bites [for 2020].”
1:30 p.m. (Delayed) – Reporters traveling with Trump did not have time before Air Force One took off to share his full comments, which included his hunch something might get done in Washington even if Democrats win the House and/or Senate. “I have a feeling that others are gonna want to get things done,” he said.
1:29 p.m. – Trump boarded Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews with a wave — and after again lashing out at the media. Reporters traveling with him were waiting under the wing as his motorcade pulled up. He went right over to them, where he fielded questions on a range of topics. One was for his feelings on networks refusing to Air an ad from his campaign that paints undocumented migrants as police killers.
“They certainly are effective,” the winning-minded president said. “A lot of things are offensive. … Your questions are offensive a lot of the time.” And with that, Air Force One was wheels up for Ohio at 1:39 p.m.
11:20 a.m. – On the same call, Trump said his agenda “can be undone … by the Democrats if they win.”
10:45 a.m. — On a call organized by the campaign organization of the president, Republican leaders pitched their closing midterm argument Monday: that Democratic gains would mean a check on the agenda of President Donald Trump, including the unimpeded seating of conservative judges and a halt to the president’s border wall.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said his and the president’s efforts to “remake the federal judiciary would come to a screeching halt if there was a Majority Leader [Charles E.] Schumer.”