Donald Trump targeted Democrats for their impeachment inquiry and those seeking to defeat him in November during an economic speech in North Carolina that had the feel of one of his campaign rallies.
The president blasted his political enemies and gave shout-outs to several supporters in the crowd, including regular attendees of his campaign rallies that he recognized and members of Congress who supported him during the impeachment inquiry.
Congressman Mark Meadows, who was one of Trump’s biggest Republican defenders on Capitol Hill during the inquiry, got a shout out. Meadows also rode down to Charlotte with the president on Air Force One.
Trump even thanked an attendee wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat, pointing to him and saying: ‘Thank you for putting on that beautiful hat. I love that hat.’
And the president entered the venue to his campaign walk-on music: Lee Greenwood’s ‘Proud to be an American.’
The president flew to Charlotte, N.C., for an Opportunity Now summit, which advocates for disadvantaged communities.
‘This isn’t a rally you know. This is a serious deal,’ he said.
But his remarks were reminiscent of one of his campaign speeches.
He proceeded to blast Democrats for their ‘failed impeachment hoax’ – a theme he has stuck to since the Republican-controlled Senate voted to acquit him on Wednesday.
He joked it wasn’t an item Democrats would put on their resume.
‘Now that is a thing of the past. Now they have a failed impeachment hoax. They can put that on their resume. That doesn’t go good on a resume. That is a failed hoax. Every one of them has to put it on their resume,’ he said.
He also addressed the upcoming November election, saying he always ran like he was one point down so he’d work his a** off.
‘Somebody said how are you doing and I said we are one point down everywhere,’ he said. I always say pretend you are one point down so you work your a** off.’
He then mocked Democrats for the fiasco with the Iowa caucuses. The state hasn’t been able to declare a winner in the first voting contest in the Democratic presidential primary after an app the party developed to count votes failed.
Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg – who were neck-and-neck in unofficial counts – each declared themselves the winner.
‘The Democrats don’t know what they hell they’re doing,’ Trump mocked them. ‘The only thing they didn’t check was to see if the app worked. It didn’t. It all fried.’
He then singled out Buttigieg, who was the first to declare himself the winner of the caucuses and took advantage of that to propel his candidacy into the next contest in New Hampshire.
‘It turned out to be Pete Buttigieg. Who ever the hell that is? Mayor Pete,’ Trump said. ‘Somebody explain that one to me. Have you ever seen anything so crazy?’
He then repeated his criticism if Democrats can’t count votes, they can’t be counted on to fix healthcare
‘They can’t count simple votes but they want to fix your healthcare system,’ he said as the crowd laughed.
He also – in an unusual rift – described how world leaders and powerful corporation heads cried when they walked into the Oval Office for the first time.
‘They walk in — powerful people, big people — and you see them crying,’ he said.
He went on to add: ‘You see them start to cry — tough people. They have not cried since they were a baby and some of them never cried at all even when they were a baby and they start to cry when they enter the Oval Office.’
Trump also made an appeal to African Americans during his speech, touting the high black unemployment numbers and suggesting to them they should give him a chance.
He also brought up Pastor Tony Lowden of Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, who he made the new head of his prisoner re-entry initiative – to speak to the crowd.
And he reminded people he freed Alice Johnson, who was sentenced to life in prison for her involvement in a Memphis cocaine trafficking organization.
Trump featured her in his Super Bowl campaign ad, which he also reminded the crowd.
He also had Ben Carson, his housing secretary and most prominent African American in his administration, introduce him.
‘The people who drive the cars and park the cars at Mar-a-Lago — they love him. They people who wash the dishes because he’s kind and compassionate. When he bought Mara-a-Lago he was the one who fought for Jews and blacks to be included in the clubs that were trying to exclude them. You know, people say he’s a racist — he is not a racist,’ Carson said.