Trump touts border efforts, poll numbers in freewheeling tax cuts talk

Trump touts border efforts, poll numbers in freewheeling tax cuts talk
© Getty

CLEVELAND — President TrumpDonald John Trump20 weeks out from midterms, Dems and GOP brace for surprises Sessions responds to Nazi comparisons: 'They were keeping the Jews from leaving' Kim Jong Un to visit Beijing this week MORE railed against the nation's immigration laws and sought to boost a Republican Senate candidate on Saturday during a freewheeling speech in a state he carried in the 2016 election.

Trump traveled to Cleveland for an event that was intended to boost the GOP tax law, but he quickly veered into other topics — including upcoming nuclear talks with North Korea and his own poll numbers — in remarks that seemed targeted at his base in the industrial Midwest.

During a particularly pointed part of his remarks, the president slammed what he called "catch and release" immigration laws, blaming them on Democrats, and suggested that "we may have to close up our country to get this straight."

ADVERTISEMENT

"It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen," he told an audience of several hundred supporters inside a dimly lit downtown theater.

"You’ve seen catch and release ... It's a Democrat rule — Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownTrump surprises with consumer agency pick On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump nominates budget official Kraninger for consumer chief | Senate votes to block Trump ZTE deal | Stocks fall on trade tensions | House panel moves to markup budget Dems must stop picking foxes to guard the financial hen house MORE," Trump said, referring to Ohio's incumbent Democratic senator.

Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciPence knocks Sherrod Brown in Ohio, boosts Renacci Poll: Casey holds double-digit lead over Barletta in Pa. Senate race Sherrod Brown tops GOP challenger by 17 points in Ohio Senate poll MORE (Ohio) — the GOP Senate candidate hoping to unseat Brown later this year — sat on stage next to Trump, who called him "really terrific."

Even though Saturday's appearance was billed as an official event, rather than a political one, the president made the case that Renacci could help him pass tougher immigration laws.

"You're going to be a fantastic senator," Trump said. "We need your vote." 

In addition to tough talk on immigration, Trump also hammered home his message on trade, saying he will rework international trade deals if they cannot be renegotiated.
 
He also touted the GOP tax law, with one of the participants at the event — a blind woman who is married to a steel worker who lost his job — speaking about how they were helped by the tax bill.
 
During the event, the president took multiple shots at Brown, saying he "does not think the way we think" on immigration, health care and other issues.

The president argued the GOP will defy predictions and "do very well in the midterms," in part because he believes his poll numbers are higher than most mainstream surveys show.

“The poll numbers are pretty good," Trump said. "They actually say that I'm popular. Can you believe it? Of course, the fake news. Fake news. You saw the poll come out that I am above [former President] Obama.”

Before the tax event, Trump attended a fundraiser that raised $3 million for the Republican National Committee. He spoke to 250 people in an event that was closed to the press.