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 TrumpDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report Christine Blasey Ford to be honored by Palo Alto City Council 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."


"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 BrownOn The Money: Deficit hits six-year high of 9 billion | Yellen says Trump attacks threaten Fed | Affordable housing set for spotlight in 2020 race Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Dem victories in `18 will not calm party turbulence MORE," Trump said, referring to Ohio's incumbent Democratic senator.

Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Dem victories in `18 will not calm party turbulence Election Countdown: Minnesota Dems worry Ellison allegations could cost them key race | Dems struggle to mobilize Latino voters | Takeaways from Tennessee Senate debate | Poll puts Cruz up 9 in Texas Poll: Republican DeWine has 3-point edge over Cordray in Ohio governor's race 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.