Trump tests love-it-or-leave-it campaign message

President Trump tested his latest campaign message at a Wednesday rally in Greenville, N.C., thrusting the four freshmen Democratic congresswomen he’s been insulting to the forefront of the 2020 election and saying of critics of his administration: “If they don’t love [America], tell them to leave it.”

“The radical Democrats are trying to destroy all of our country’s tremendous success,” Trump said. “The leading voices of the Democrat Party are left-wing extremists who reject everything our country stands for.”

In a clear reference to Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Trump said: “These left-wing ideologues see our country as a force for evil.”

He proceeded to attack each congresswoman.

“Rep. Omar blamed the United States for the terrorist attacks on our country,” Trump said, without citing a specific instance. Earlier in the week, Trump falsely accused Omar, one of the first Muslim women in Congress, of proclaiming “how great al-Qaida is.”

President Donald Trump pumps his fists as he arrives for a "Make America Great Again" rally at Minges Coliseum in Greenville, North Carolina, on July 17, 2019. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)
President Trump arrives for a "Make America Great Again" rally in Greenville, N.C. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

“Send her back!” his crowd chanted in response to Trump’s criticisms of Omar.

Tlaib, Trump said, “agreed with Omar’s characterization of 9/11,” without specifying how. Tlaib also “used the F-word to describe the presidency and your president,” Trump continued, referencing the congresswoman’s vow that Congress would “impeach the motherf***er.”

Trump said he couldn’t be bothered to learn Ocasio-Cortez’s name, telling his audience that he would simply call her “Cortez.”

“She’s conducted outrageous attacks against men and women of law enforcement,” Trump said, noting her criticism of Border Patrol agents and ICE.

“She said essentially Nazis are running concentration camps,” Trump continued. While Ocasio-Cortez did describe the U.S. facilities as concentration camps, she never said they were run by Nazis.

As for Pressley, Trump speculated whether she might be related to Elvis Presley.

“She thinks that people with the same skin color all need to think the same,” Trump said of Pressley, who is African-American. “She said we don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be brown voices. We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice.”

“These congresswomen, their comments are helping to fuel the rise of a dangerous militant hard left,” Trump said, reading from a teleprompter.

From left, Reps. Rashida Tlaib, llhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley respond to remarks by President Trump during a news conference on July 15. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
From left, Reps. Rashida Tlaib, llhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley during a news conference. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The stop on Trump’s campaign for reelection came hours after the House of Representatives tabled a resolution by Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, to impeach the president for inflammatory statements the House called “racist” in a separate resolution passed Tuesday.

“How stupid is that?” Trump said of the impeachment resolution, thanking Democrats who voted against it. “They did the right thing for our country.”

Trump sparked the firestorm Sunday morning in a series of tweets, widely condemned as racist, telling the four congresswomen of color to “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came.” All four lawmakers are U.S. citizens, and three of the four were born in the U.S.

He escalated that fight a day later in remarks at a manufacturing event outside the White House, insisting that the congresswomen “hate our country” and are “anti-Israel.

On Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez said there was “no bottom to the barrel” of Trump’s vitriol.

“I think that America has always been a story, and America has always been about the triumph of people who fight for everyone versus those who want to preserve rights for just a select few,” Ocasio-Cortez told CBS’s Gayle King. “And there is no bottom to the barrel of vitriol that will be used and weaponized to stifle those who want to advance rights for all people in the United States.”

Trump has seemed to welcome the fight with the perhaps the most liberal faction of the House Democratic caucus. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday found that support for the president had edged up slightly in the wake of his call for the four female Democrats to leave America.

Before leaving the White House for North Carolina on Wednesday, Trump was asked for his assessment of how the war of words with the Democratic lawmakers was playing with the American public.

“I do think I’m winning the political fight,” Trump said.

Supporters at President Trump's campaign rally in Greenville, N.C. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Supporters at President Trump's campaign rally in Greenville, N.C. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)


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