President Donald Trump, who often touts the size of crowds at his events and knocks those of his foes, on Tuesday dismissed an audience Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew the night before in New York City.
Warren spoke in front of the iconic arch in the Big Apple’s Washington Square Park before an audience numbering in the “thousands,” according to estimates from local media outlets. But the president, who sent his first press secretary, Sean Spicer, out on his first full day on the job to make false statements about the size of Trump’s inauguration audience, contended he was not impressed with Warren’s crowd.
“Anybody that can’t get people standing in the middle of Manhattan in the most densely populated area of the country — anybody could do that,” the president said in California to reporters traveling with him. “I think more Democrats should do it. I get these crowds in areas that nobody’s ever seen crowds before. Pretty amazing.
“Certainly, if I went to Manhattan, if I went there – No. 1, she didn’t have 20,000 people; and No. 2, I think anybody would get a good crowd there,” he said. “I think you have a good crowd there if you don’t even go there, just say you’re going and how many people are in the park.”
Trump increasingly appears to see the liberal Massachusetts senator as a threat. She was the lone 2020 Democratic candidate he mentioned Monday night at a campaign Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
“I don’t want to do this too early,” he said while telling supporters he does not want to unleash his full reelection campaign blitz too soon, before turning to his derisive nickname for Warren, who has shot up the polls in the race for the Democratic nomination: “You know the Pocahontas thing? I did that it was before it’s time.”
Polls give Warren and other Democrats a lead nationally in head-to-head matchups with the president and he has acknowledged she is “rising.”
The RealClearPolitics average of seven national surveys gives her a 5.2-percentage point lead over Trump. One poll in that average, conducted by Quinnipiac University, showed her with a 12-point lead in a general election race. Two others give her a 3-percentage point and 2-percentage point lead, respectively.
Meantime, Trump told reporters he does not expect to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as Saudi Arabia recovers from a missile attack on an oil facility that took 6 percent of the world’s reserves offline.
“I don’t think I need to, but I’m willing to do it. We’re the undisputed champion of energy. We are now way ahead of No. 2 and No. 3, which is Saudi Arabia and Russia. Let people do what they have to do. And they’ve done it. But I can really step it up a lot more if we have to,” he told reporters traveling with him on the West Coast.
“So I don’t believe I need to, but if we want to use strategic oil reserves, I would open them up,” he said, according to a pool report.
And when asked about his search to replace fired John Bolton as national security adviser, he named his finalists: Robert O’Brien, Ric Waddell, Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, Fred Fleitz and Keith Kellogg.
He called O’Brien “fantastic” and declared his “love” for Kellogg before noting “He’s been with me from the beginning,” according to a pool report.
Kellogg is a retired three-star Army general who is now Vice President Mike Pence’s top national security counselor. Previously, he was a frequent Fox News guest and an adviser to the 2016 Trump-Pence campaign.