Trump in full campaign mode at Pennsylvania rally

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President Trump was in full campaign mode on Saturday at a rally for Republican congressional hopeful Rick Saccone, returning to the bombastic, unrestrained candidate from 2016. 

For more than an hour, President Trump railed against the media and skewered his Democratic opponents while endorsing Saccone — a Pennsylvania state Representative facing a tough race in the House special election.

“This guy should win easily, and he’s going to win easy. You got to know him. He’s an extraordinary person. Go out and vote on Tuesday for Rick Saccone,” Trump said before leaving the stage in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. 

But Trump spent most of the evening touting his own accomplishments since he took office rather than praising Saccone, and even used the rally to unveil his own 2020 campaign slogan: “Keep America Great.”

Trump celebrated passing tax reform and his tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, and pledged to continue work building a border wall with Mexico. 

“The tax bill was so massive, bigger than [Ronald] Reagan, biggest one done,” Trump said. It is so big, he added, that “we are calling it tax reform” instead of a tax cut.

“This is where a nonpolitician is good. For 40 years they couldn’t pass anything,” Trump said.

Trump also patted himself on the back for his planned meeting with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, who he is expected to meet with by the end of May.

The president hit the media over its coverage of the planned meeting, saying the news cycle transitioned too quickly away from what he is already touting as a great success.

The “fake news” criticisms included a jab at NBC’s “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd, who Trump called a “sleeping son of a bitch.”

Unlike past campaign rallies, Trump spent less time targeting his former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, and turned his fire on rumored 2020 candidates, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Oprah Winfrey. 

“If I don’t win the election, [news] ratings are going to go so far down, they’ll be out of business, every one of them. Can you imagine?” Trump said to cheers. “Can you imagine covering Bernie or Pocahontas? How about that?”

“I would love Oprah to win. I would love to beat Oprah. I know her weakness,” Trump added. “Wouldn’t we love to run against Oprah. I would love it. I would love it. That would be a painful experience for her.”

Trump did not elaborate on Winfrey’s weakness but only added that they know each other very well.

“I know her very well,” Trump said. “I was on her last show, or one of the last, the last week. She had Donald Trump, and Donald Trump’s family. My, my, my, we have come down a long way, haven’t we.”

Trump also took aim at Rep. Maxine Waters (D) who has frequently called for the president’s impeachment. Trump hit the California lawmaker as having “a very low IQ.”

Other moments that grabbed attention at the rally included Trump calling for the death penalty for drug dealers, praising countries that execute drug lords.

Trump used Singapore as an example, describing a conversation he had about how the country handles its drug problem.

“They don’t play games. I said, how are you doing on drugs? ‘No problem.’ I said what do you mean no problem? ‘We have a zero tolerance policy.’ What does that mean? ‘That means if we catch a drug dealer, death penalty,'” Trump said to applause.

He went on to say drug dealers in the United States should be treated more harshly.

“They shoot one person, kill some person, knife one person, the person dies, they get maybe the death penalty or maybe life in prison, no parole, right? Okay? A drug dealer will kill 2,000, 3,000, 5,000 people during the course of his or her life,” Trump said. “You can kill thousands of people and go to jail for 30 days.”

The rally signals what’s to come in the 2018 midterms, during which Trump has pledged to hit the campaign trail in full force. White House aides say Trump is preparing to be out campaigning four, five or even six days a week starting around Labor Day.

That means more opportunity for Trump to be himself and out of the White House, which is just the way he likes it.

On Saturday, Trump relished in the opportunity not to be “presidential,” mocking critics who say his behavior and speech aren’t up to par with past Oval Office standards. 

“You know, how easy it is to be presidential? But you’d be so bored,” Trump said to applause before launching into an impression of a “stiff” Trump.

“I’m very presidential. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being here tonight. Rick will be a great, great congressman. He will help me very much. He’s a fine man and Yong is a wonderful wife. I just want to tell you on behalf of the United States of America that we appreciate your service. We appreciate your service,” Trump said in his more “presidential” voice.

“See, that’s easy. That’s much easier than doing what I have to do,” Trump said. “But this is much more effective. If I came like a stiff, you guys wouldn’t be here tonight.”

Tags 2022 midterm elections Bernie Sanders campaign Donald Trump Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Hillary Clinton Maxine Waters Pennsylvania rallies

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