President Donald Trump has mocked Al Franken for speedily resigning his Senate seat, as he campaigned for the Republican running for the vacated seat.
Trump spoke at a midterm campaign rally on Thursday night in the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minnesota, where a special election to fill the seat will be held in November.
Republican state Senator Karin Housley hopes overtake a 6.7-point deficit in the polls to wrest Franken’s old seat from Democrat Tina Smith, who was appointed to it after he resigned in January.
‘She took a wacky guy’s place,’ Trump said of Smith. ‘Boy did he fold up like a wet rag, man. He was gone so fast – he was gone so fast, I don’t wanna mention Al Franken’s name, ok?’
‘He was gone so fast, it was like ‘Oh he did something?’ – ‘Oh oh oh, I resign, I quit, I quit.”
Franken resigned from his Senate seat on January 2, six weeks after former Playboy model Leeann Tweeden alleged that forcibly kissed her on a 2006 USO tour. Several other women also came forward with claims of inappropriate touching
Attorney Debra Katz, who is currently representing Christine Blasey Ford in her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, defended Franken against the claims, which the Democrat disputed.
At Thursday’s rally, Trump called Franken’s replacement Smith ‘a far left Democrat, who nobody knows who the hell she is.’
Challenger Housley took the sage briefly and turned to Trump with a smile, saying: ‘You really do go off script don’t you, jeeze!’
Trump at the rally also addressed the Kavanaugh nomination saga that has gripped the nation.
‘Democrats have been trying to destroy Judge Brett Kavanaugh since the very first second he was announced,’ Trump said.
‘He was announced for one simple reason, he is an incredible intellect, an incredible person, an incredible talent, he has been an incredible judge.’
Trump predicted that Democrat opposition to Kavanaugh would provoke a backlash in the midterms, and drive Republican gains in Congress.
‘All you have to do is look at the polls over the last few days, and it show their rage-fueled resistance is starting to backfire at a level that nobody has ever seen before,’ Trump said.
‘People see what’s happening and they don’t like it,’ he continued.
Upon mention of the nomination drama, the lively crowd at the rally began chanting ‘We want Kavanaugh’.
On Thursday morning, the FBI delivered to the Senate statements collected in its investigation into Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that Kavanaugh groped her and pinned her down in 1982, which he denies.
Two key Senate Republicans, Arizona’s Jeff Flake and Susan Collins of Maine, signaled that they were satisfied that the FBI had found no corroboration for the allegations – though the senators did not formally declare how they intend to vote.
The Senate is expected to vote to end debate on Kavanaugh’s nomination on Friday, with a potential confirmation vote on Saturday.
Friday’s vote will reveal whether Kavanaugh has the votes to pass confirmation, as anyone who votes to end debate will likely vote to confirm.
Republicans can withstand two defections from their own party and still pass the confirmation.
Currently, three Republicans have not committed: Flake, Collins, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Trump attended the rally in support of Republican Senate candidate Karin Housley, who is facing appointed incumbent Democrat Tina Smith in a special election.
The President also stumped for Republican Congressional candidates Jason Lewis and Jim Hagedorn.
The outcome in Minnesota could prove critical as Republicans seek to counter Democratic enthusiasm in the midterm elections.
In remarks to the crowd, Lewis turned to Trump and said: ‘Minnesota loves your appointments to the Supreme Court, and that includes Brett Kavanaugh.’
The rally held in the Mayo Civic Center, which has a capacity of 7,200.
Trump lost Minnesota in the 2016 election by a razor-thin 1.52 point margin, but is hoping his appearance can boost enthusiasm among Republican midterm voters.
Prior to the rally, Trump’s supporters stood for the national anthem.
After touching down at a crowd at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport before the rally, Trump briefly addressed a crowd of 100 supporters who gathered on the tarmac.
‘Thank you very much, thank you all very much. I think he’s doing well. The judge is doing very well, don’t you think?’ Trump said, to cheers of approval from the crowd.