Trump rails against political elites on Washington media's big night

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE railed against the political and social elites at a campaign rally in Wisconsin on Saturday night as members of the press gathered in Washington for the White House correspondents’ dinner.

Trump cast the news media, Democrats and Washington insiders as out of touch with ordinary Americans and made the case that his administration’s policies have benefited working-class voters in the Midwest states that will be pivotal in determining the outcome of the 2020 election.

"There’s no place I’d rather be than right here in America’s heartland," Trump said in a 90-minute speech at a packed arena in Green Bay. "And there’s no one I’d rather be with than you, the hardworking patriots who make our country run so well."

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As Trump spoke, top figures from the news media were holding their annual awards dinner and fundraiser in Washington.

The president, who has frequently described the press as "the enemy of the people" and is expected to make the news media a primary target in his 2020 reelection bid, has skipped the White House correspondents’ dinner for three consecutive years.

Trump kept up his attacks against the news media on Saturday night.

"Fake news — they’re fake. They are fake, and they are fakers," Trump said as his supporters chanted, "CNN sucks."

Last year, comedian Michelle Wolf stirred controversy after roasting White House press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSarah Elizabeth SandersWhat President Trump needs in his next press secretary  Five memorable moments from Sarah Sanders at the White House Five memorable moments from Sarah Sanders at the White House MORE Sanders, who was seated nearby.

Trump invited Sanders on stage during the rally on Saturday night to address the crowd.

"Last year, I was at a slightly different event and didn’t get the best welcome," Sanders said. "This is an honor."

The president also laid out the themes that will define his 2020 reelection bid while taking shots at the Democrats vying to take him on in the general election. 

The president criticized former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Five takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally MORE and Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Five takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally Warren introduces universal child care legislation MORE (D-Mass.). He trotted out his nicknames for the trio, saying that "Sleepy Joe," "Crazy Bernie" and "Pocahontas" could never draw the kind of crowds that he gets.

Biden and Sanders are presently at the top of the Democratic primary polls in a crowded field that now includes more than 20 candidates.

Trump predicted that Warren, whom he has repeatedly attacked for claiming Native American heritage, would drop out of the race soon.

 "She’s finished. She’s out. She’s gone," Trump said.

Warren said this month she had raised $6 million for her presidential bid in the first three months of the year, well below other 2020 contenders, including Sanders and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas).

The president also sought to cast Democrats as extreme.

Trump pointed to the Green New Deal and "Medicare for All" as examples of how the "radical left" had taken control of the party.

He warned that Democrats would "take your guns away" while opening the borders, legalizing late-term abortions and overseeing a government takeover of the health care industry if they take power in Washington.

"The Democratic Party has never been more outside the mainstream," Trump said. "Oh, do I look forward to running against them."

And the president argued that his economic policies have lifted working-class voters, particularly those in the Midwest and Rust Belt states that propelled his surprising 2016 election.

Trump was the first Republican candidate to carry Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFive takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Five takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Trump jokes he'd get 'electric chair' if he deleted even one 'love note' email to Melania MORE has been criticized for not campaigning there, but Democrats will not repeat that mistake in 2020.

Several Democratic presidential contenders have already visited Wisconsin this year, and the Democratic National Convention will take place in Milwaukee.

Trump repeatedly touted economic gains in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, arguing that the manufacturing industry in those states was headed to ruin before he was elected.

He said that his insistence on renegotiating trade deals, threatening tariffs and taking a hard-line approach with foreign leaders has tipped the balance of power back in favor of Americans workers who had been ignored by previous administrations.

"Decades of unfair trade deals have stripped away this country’s wealth … and taken away our dignity," Trump said. "The era of economic surrender is over. America will not be taken advantage of any longer."