Trump seeks to boost vulnerable GOP senator with Colorado rally

Trump seeks to boost vulnerable GOP senator with Colorado rally
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE on Thursday rallied with supporters in Colorado, seeking to boost vulnerable GOP Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerGOP senator calls for investigation into 'mismanagement' of strategic ventilators Romney says he tested negative for coronavirus, will remain in quarantine Senate GOP super PAC books more than million in fall ads MORE (Colo.) as the state's Senate election this coming November could help determine which party will control the upper chamber.

Trump exuded confidence in his remarks to thousands of supporters in Colorado Springs, predicting a strong showing for his campaign in November.

"We are going to win Colorado in a landslide," Trump declared to the thousands of supporters. "And you’re going to help us get Cory Gardner across that line because he’s been with us 100 percent. There was no waver."

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The president lost Colorado and its nine electoral votes in 2016 by about 5 percentage points, or roughly 136,000 votes. Democrats retained control of the governor's mansion in the 2018 election and flipped one House seat as the state becomes more solidly blue.

But the president's presence in the state may be as much about the general presidential election as it is about trying to shore up the Republican majority in the Senate. 

After introducing a host of special guests — the state's Republican congressmen, Donald Trump Jr. and Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White among them — Trump welcomed Gardner onto the stage. The two men shook hands and exchanged compliments.

Trump expressed appreciation for Gardner sticking by him through the impeachment trial, saying the senator viewed the allegations that he withheld security aid for Ukraine in exchange for investigations into his political rivals as "a lot of bull."

"He's got my complete and total support endorsement. He will never let you down," Trump said, though his verbal embrace of Gardner coincided with a cascade of boos directed at a protester in the crowd.

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Gardner is among the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection in the Senate in November. He narrowly won his seat in 2014 and will likely square off with former Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperSenate GOP super PAC books more than million in fall ads Poll shows Daines, Bullock neck and neck in Montana Senate race Progressive challenger: How we overcame Chuck Schumer meddling MORE (D), a centrist who ran a brief and unsuccessful presidential campaign. The Cook Political Report rates the race a "toss-up," while Sabato's Crystal Ball on Thursday shifted it to "leans Democratic."

The Colorado senator has attempted to tie himself closely to Trump, hoping that strong turnout among the president's base will deliver him a victory. Gardner voted against hearing from witnesses in Trump's impeachment trial last month and voted to acquit the president on both articles.

While on stage Thursday night, Gardner asked the crowd to applaud Trump twice. He thanked the president for deliver funding for a state pipeline and echoed Trump in warning against the rise of socialism.

"There was a dangerous thing that happened in 2016. It was the normalization of socialism by Bernie SandersBernie SandersDrugmaker caps insulin costs at to help diabetes patients during pandemic The Hill's Campaign Report: Wisconsin votes despite coronavirus pandemic Sen. Brown endorses Biden for president MORE," Gardner said, depicting himself as a safeguard against Sanders' platform. 

Trump's speech hit on many of the same notes as most of his rally remarks. He boasted of increased military spending, economic prosperity for minority communities in particular and a boom in energy production . He also painted Democrats as "radical" and railed against investigations into his administration.

He devoted time to mocking Wednesday night's Democratic debate, chiding the performance of Michael BloombergMichael BloombergNew York City auctioned off extra ventilators due to cost of maintenance: report DNC books million in fall YouTube ads Former Bloomberg staffer seeks class-action lawsuit over layoffs MORE and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar Klobuchar's husband recounts battle with coronavirus: 'It just suddenly hit me' Hillicon Valley: Schiff presses intel chief on staff changes | Warren offers plan to secure elections | Twitter's Jack Dorsey to donate B to coronavirus fight | WhatsApp takes steps to counter virus misinformation Wisconsinites put lives on the line after SCOTUS decision MORE (D-Minn.) in particular.

Trump often veered off script, recalling how he spoke at the Air Force Academy commencement ceremony last year and complaining at length about Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto.

Thursday's rally was the second of three that Trump will hold on consecutive days during a rare trip out west. The president rallied supporters in Arizona on Wednesday where he was joined by Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyGraham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill Trump considering suspending funding to WHO Campaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis MORE (R-Ariz.) who is facing a difficult reelection fight.

Trump will hold a rally in Nevada on Friday a day before the state holds its Democratic caucuses before returning to Washington, D.C.