Trumps Projects Midterm Optimism 10/23 06:32
President Donald Trump projected midterm optimism in Texas on Monday, saying
the "blue wave is being dissipated a little."
HOUSTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump projected midterm optimism in Texas
on Monday, saying the "blue wave is being dissipated a little."
Trump spoke before a massive crowd in Houston on behalf of his former foe
Sen. Ted Cruz, who faces a strong challenge from Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke.
When the two competed in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, Trump would
frequently deride his rival as "Lyin' Ted" but said in Texas that their
relationship had come a long way.
"Nobody has helped me more with your tax cut, with your regulation," Trump
said of Cruz. "He defended your jobs, he defended your borders, and we are
defending that border, by the way."
Trump also attacked O'Rourke, dubbing him a "stone-cold phony."
With the midterms drawing near, Trump continued to escalate his rhetoric on
immigration, targeting a migrant caravan heading to the U.S. southern border.
Trump called the caravan an "assault on our country" and suggested, without
citing evidence, that "Democrats had something to do with it."
"We need a wall built fast," Trump said.
Immigration politics have become a central part of Trump's closing message
as he seeks to energize Republican voters in the midterm elections. Trump has
seized on the caravan of Central Americans as evidence that his immigration
prescriptions are needed. Earlier Monday, he said the U.S. will begin "cutting
off, or substantially reducing" aid to three Central American nations because
of the caravan.
The president's focus on immigration politics comes as he seeks to counter
Democratic enthusiasm in November. But the approach offers both risks and
rewards. He could energize Democratic foes as well as the Republicans he wants
to rouse to the polls.
Monday's event bore all the trappings of a Trump rally. An enthusiastic
crowd packed into Houston's Toyota Center, wearing red Make America Great Again
hats and waving signs, including one with the president's new catchphrase,
"Jobs vs. Mobs." Some did the wave as they waited for the event to start;
others shouted "Trump, Trump, Trump!" and "Build the wall!"
Speaking before Trump took the stage, Cruz made clear that their conflict
was behind them and that the two were working together. His biggest applause
came when he predicted that "in 2020, Donald Trump will be overwhelming
A series of Texas elected officials were among the warmup speakers, as well
as Trump's daughter-in-law Lara Trump and son Eric Trump, who told the audience
that "we are driving the Democrats absolutely nuts."
Trump gleefully used his latest attack line against Democrats, saying,
"Democrats produce mobs, Republicans produce mobs." He declared Democrats would
be a "big risk to the American family," and went after some of his favorite
targets, including Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California
Rep. Maxine Waters, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Massachusetts Sen.
The president stressed tax cuts, the strong economy and hurricane response
in the state. He repeated his pledge for a new middle-income tax cut of about
10 percent, though he offered few details on the plan. Trump said they would be
"putting it in" next week, though Congress is not in session.
Trump also criticized so-called globalists, declaring, "You know what I am?
I'm a nationalist."
Trump's Texas stop is part of a campaign blitz that is expected to last
until Election Day.
Although political relationships tend to be fluid, Trump's appearance for
Cruz is notable, given that the two were bitter enemies during the 2016
primaries. After Trump insulted Cruz's wife and father, and Cruz refused to
endorse Trump at the Republican convention, it was far from clear that the two
would ever put it all behind them.
But they started rebuilding in the closing days of the campaign and have
worked together since Trump took the White House.
The White House views Cruz as a loyal vote for his agenda. Trump promised he
would come to Texas after the Senate race grew closer than expected, with
O'Rourke out-fundraising Cruz and drawing large and enthusiastic crowds around
the state. Cruz, who is leading O'Rourke in the polls, said over the summer
that he would welcome Trump's support, though he has brushed off any suggestion
he'd need Trump to win.