President Donald Trump on Monday night mounted a strong defense of his embattled Supreme Court nominee and issued a dire warning of the consequences of allowing a Democratic takeover of Congress next month.
Trump addressed a raucous rally in Johnson City, Tennessee, after headlining a fundraiser. He linked attacks on Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the broader win-at-any-cost tactics employed by a party desperate for power.
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“Democrats are willing to do anything and to hurt anyone to get their way — like they’re doing with Judge Kavanaugh,” he said. “They’ve been trying to destroy him since the very first second he was announced because they know that Judge Kavanaugh will follow the Constitution as written.”
Trump ridiculed Democrats for scrutinizing Kavanaugh’s drinking habits in high school. The nominee’s critics have zeroed in on teenage drinking as the key to convincing Americans that Kavanaugh might have sexually assaulted a girl during his high school years.
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“Oh, let’s go back to high school,” he said. “Maybe they should go back before high school.”
The stakes of the midterm elections would have been enormous anyway. But the prospect of Kavanaugh’s nomination failing raise them even further. If Democrats snatch control of the Senate, it would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get another justice confirmed.
“A Democrat takeover of Congress will plunge our country into gridlock and chaos and take away all of the wealth that you’ve earned over the last 20 months.”
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Against that backdrop, Tennessee surprisingly ranks among the marquee matchups this fall. Although the Volunteer State has been solidly Republican in recent years, the retirement of incumbent Republican Bob Corker has given Democrats an opportunity.
Former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen has traded leads with the GOP nominee, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, in the past four polls. They are in a dead heat in the latest RealClearPolitics polling average.
“Mr. President, when that blue wave gets to the state line, it is going to run smack dab into the great red wall — and that is every single one of you,” Blackburn said Monday, motioning toward the crowd.
Trump touted his achievements, including a record-high stock market, low unemployment, and Monday’s announcement that Canada had agreed to join the United States and Mexico in a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement, called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
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“We’ve got to be very careful,” he said. “A Democrat takeover of Congress will plunge our country into gridlock and chaos and take away all of the wealth that you’ve earned over the last 20 months.”
Trump said that “radical Democrats in Congress are trying very hard to erase everything we’ve achieved.”
A Democratic victory would “devastate” Americans’ 401(k) accounts, the president said.
“Your taxes will rise beyond your wildest imagination, and crime will flow into our country through these open borders,” he said. “Other than that, we’ll be doing very well.”
At another point, Trump accused Democrats of wanting to “turn American into Venezuela.”
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Trump did not just attack Democrats, generally. He trained fire on Bredesen, specifically. He said the former governor would not defend the Second Amendment and presided over nearly $1 billion in new taxes and fees during his tenure.
Trump also knocked Bredesen for a near doubling of the unemployment rate and for giving driver’s certificates to illegal immigrants.
The Bredesen campaign has fought back against those attacks. His second term coincided with the economic collapse of 2008 and 2009, which virtually guaranteed a spike in unemployment. And the campaign has said it was Bredesen’s predecessor who started the practice of giving driver’s certificates to illegal immigrants; he ended the practice.
But beyond those specific issues, Trump said, Bredesen would bolster the Democratic leadership in Washington. Blackburn, he said, would be an ally.
“It’s a vote for Make America Great Again. That’s what it is,” he said. “A vote for Bredesen is a vote for [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer, [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi, and the real leader of the Democrats, [California Rep.] Maxine Waters.”
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