CLEVELAND — President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests 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 BrownHillicon Valley: Senators raise concerns over government surveillance of protests | Amazon pauses police use of its facial recognition tech | FBI warns hackers are targeting mobile banking apps Democratic senators raise concerns over government surveillance of protests Some realistic solutions for income inequality MORE,” Trump said, referring to Ohio’s incumbent Democratic senator.
Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciOhio is suddenly a 2020 battleground Democrats fear Ohio slipping further away in 2020 Medicare for All won’t deliver what Democrats promise 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.
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