Trump Gets Personal in Minn., Rips Bidens, Omar, Springsteen

Trump Gets Personal in Minn., Rips Bidens, Omar, Springsteen
AP Photo/Jim Mone
Trump Gets Personal in Minn., Rips Bidens, Omar, Springsteen
AP Photo/Jim Mone
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President Trump used his first rally since Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry against him to show supporters he is as fiercely combative as ever and won’t let the swirling controversy tamp down his battles with 2020 opponents, political foes and leading critics in entertainment and the media.

Joe Biden “was only a good vice president because he understood how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass,” he told a packed arena of 20,000 Thursday night in Minneapolis.

Hometown congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a Somalian refugee who immigrated to the U.S. with her family in the early 1990s, is “an America-hating socialist,” he said while scolding area voters for electing her -- and touting his record in rolling back the number of Somali refugees allowed into the state as a reason Minnesotans should vote for him.

Roughly a third of the way into the 90-minute address, Trump delved into the heart of the issue driving the Democratic impeachment investigation: Hunter Biden’s profits from a Ukrainian gas company while his father was point man on that nation in the Obama administration. He left out any references to allegations of his own impropriety in his asking the Ukrainian president, as well as Chinese officials, to investigate the Bidens.

“President Obama put Joe in charge of Ukraine policy … and his son walked away with a fortune,” Trump said. “Joe’s son Hunter got thrown out of the Navy, and then he became a genius on Wall Street in about two days.

“By the way, whatever happened to Hunter? Where the hell is he?” he asked the crowed. “…You know nothing about anything, frankly, Hunter. You’re a loser. Why did you get $1.5 billion [from China], Hunter?”

Trump didn’t stop there. “And your father was never considered smart. He was never considered a good senator. He was only a good vice president because he understood how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass.”

In his fourth visit to the state since taking office, Trump delivered his litany of attacks while reminiscing about his 2016 campaign win and thanking the crowd for fueling his political rise.

Trump narrowly lost Minnesota to Hillary Clinton in 2016 but is campaigning hard to win it next year, even though it’s difficult territory for Republicans. A GOP presidential candidate hasn’t carried the state since 1972.

Recalling his surprise 2016 victory as “one of the greatest nights in the history of television,” he took shots at the Clinton campaign for trying to fill stadiums will celebrity guests to draw crowds -- crowds that he said would leave after the celebrity performance was over.

“I didn’t need Beyonce or Jay Z, and I don’t need little Bruce Springsteen and all of these people,” he said. “… They’d come in, they’d sing. They got Bruce Springsteen. Okay? He’d do about two songs and leave. What happens is, they leave, and then everyone leaves with them, and she’s still speaking in front of the same lousy crowd. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Musing on Omar’s election to Congress, Trump, tongue in cheek, at first pretended to blame the crowd.

“I know you people. I know you people … it’s both a question and a statement: How the hell did that ever happen?” he asked before lacing into the lawmaker.

“Congressman Omar is an American-hating socialist. She minimized the September 11th attack on our homeland. … She pleaded for compassion for ISIS recruits right here in Minnesota.”

Trump also blasted Omar for having “a history of launching virulent, anti-Semitic screeds whether you like it or not. … She is a disgrace to our country and she is one of the big reasons that I’m going to win and the Republican Party is going to win Minnesota in 13 months.”

Although he didn’t repeat his controversial line that Omar and other members of her “squad” of far-left liberals in Congress, all minorities, should “go back to where they came from,” Trump went after Somali immigrants as a whole.

Minnesota has the country’s largest Somali immigrant population — 69,000 — many of whom fled after a civil war and unrest in the early 1990s, with roughly 13,500 coming to the state from 2005 to 2018.

The refugee resettlement policies drew scrutiny in the Obama administration when at least 45 Somali immigrants in Minnesota joined the ranks of either the Somali-based terrorist group al-Shabab or the Iraq- and Syria-based ISIS, according to FBI statistics.

“As you know, leaders in Washington brought large numbers of refugees to your state without considering the impact on schools and communities and taxpayers,” he said. “I promised you, that as president, I would give local communities a greater say in refugee policy and put in place enhanced vetting and responsible immigration controls.

“And I’ve done that. Since coming into office, I have reduced refugee resettlement by 85%, and as you know, maybe especially in Minnesota, I kept another promise,” he said, as the crowd cheered. “I issued an executive action, making clear that no refugees will be resettled in any city and any state without the express, written consent of that city or that state.

“Believe me, not other president would be doing that,” he added.

Turning to the impeachment controversy, he said Democrats, working with “their partners” in the media, “know they can’t win the 2020 election,” so they’re trying to force him from office. He called it just the latest attempt by “the wretched Washington swamp” to “nullify the results of a truly great and democratic election.

“They want to erase your vote like it never existed. They want to erase your voice and erase your future,” he said. “But because this is America, the people rule again.”

Trump specifically referred to a media report Thursday night that the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint launched the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry had worked with Biden in the White House while serving on the National Security Council.

“It turns out that [when] Joe Biden was vice president, he worked with the whistleblower,” Trump said to loud boos from the crowd. “This is nothing but a partisan witch hunt, sabotage, and I’m sure they are going to say it’s totally unsubstantiated.”

Earlier in his remarks, he labeled the Democrats’ impeachment drive a “brazen attempt to overthrow our government” and predicted it would “produce a backlash at the ballot box the likes of which they have never seen before in this history of this country.

“Democrats are on a crusade to destroy our democracy,” he said. “…We will never let it happen. We will defeat them.”

Susan Crabtree is RealClearPolitics' White House/national political correspondent.

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