With four weeks until the midterm election, President Trump whipped up a crowd of about 9,000 supporters here, reiterating his recent claims that Democrats are an “angry mob” intent on “policies of anger, division and destruction.”
“You don’t hand matches to an arsonist and you don’t give power to an angry left-wing mob, and that’s what the Democrats are,” he said in this Iowa town across the river from Nebraska, appearing with Republican candidates from both states.
The rally, one of four that Trump has scheduled for a second consecutive week, included familiar hype about the economy — he falsely called it the “greatest economy in history” and inflated the pace of job gains — as well as fearmongering about the prospect of Democrats capturing control of Congress in the Nov. 6 election.
“If Democrats take control they will try to reverse our amazing progress and plunge our country into gridlock and maybe into poverty and ultimately into chaos,” Trump said.
The president has ramped up his partisan rhetoric in the aftermath of the bitter fight over his newly installed Supreme Court pick, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who was narrowly confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate over the weekend despite sexual assault allegations against him.
Trump said that Democrats “wanted to destroy” Kavanaugh. When he suggested that Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, had leaked Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation against the nominee, the crowd chanted, “Lock her up!” — echoing their chants at Trump’s mention two times of his 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton. Feinstein has denied that either she or her aides leaked Ford’s confidential letter.
One man, referring to Feinstein, yelled out repeatedly, “Traitor!”
Framing the midterm election as the chance for voters to “render your verdict on the Democrats’ outrageous conduct,” Trump urged people to reject “Democrat politics of anger, division and destruction.”
The freewheeling, 76-minute remarks offered the latest example of the president’s purposely divisive and often overstated closing arguments for the final month of campaigning, in hopes of animating conservative voters and staving off a potential Democratic wave that could flip control of the House and perhaps the Senate.
Raising Republicans’ well-worn specter of Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco as speaker of a Democratic-controlled House, Trump implored his supporters, “We have to stop Pelosi from becoming — can you believe this? — the speaker of the House.”
Boasting of his signing this week of a directive for the year-round sale of E15, a gasoline blend containing 15% ethanol derived from corn grown by Iowa farmers, Trump claimed — without evidence, and contrary to the legislative record — that Democrats “will end ethanol. They will take it away.”
Trump didn’t just mock his possible 2020 rivals, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), as usual denigrating her as “Pocahontas” for her unsubstantiated claim of Native American ancestry; he took on the Democratic opponents of local Republicans on the Iowa and Nebraska ballots.
In keeping with his penchant for nicknames, he branded Democrat Cindy Axne, who is challenging Iowa Rep. David Young, as “Cindy Tax-me,” basking in his cleverness. “That was so easy,” he said.
And he made a point of struggling to pronounce the name of another Democrat. “Who the hell is that?” the president exclaimed, to the laughter of the crowd. “Who is that?”