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Midterms 2018

Trump Mocks Al Franken, Keith Ellison at Minnesota Rally

Invigorated president stumps for Republican candidates in a Gopher State packed house with midterms a month away

President Donald Trump took his road show to Minnesota on Thursday, stumping for Republican candidates and mocking an infamous pair of that state’s Democrats: Rep. Keith Ellison and former Sen. Al Franken.

Both Franken and Ellison have found themselves on the wrong side of the #MeToo movement, but Trump made only the vaguest of references to those issues. He alluded to allegations of inappropriate physical contact with women by Franken, which drove him out of the Senate last year.

Trump referenced Franken by way of knocking the woman appointed to take his place, Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.).

“She took a wacky guy’s place. That guy was — he was wacky,” he said. “Boy, did he fold up like a wet rag, huh? Man. Man. He was gone so fast. He was gone so fast — I don’t want to mention Al Franken’s name — he was gone so fast.”

As for the current incumbent, Trump said, “And he was replaced by someone nobody ever heard of, Tina Smith.”

Trump urged voters to back Smith’s Republican opponent, state Sen. Karin Housley.

Related: Cautiously Optimistic Republicans Push for Saturday Confirmation Vote

“You really do go off script, don’t you? Geez,” the GOP nominee said when Trump invited her up to the stage. “Thank you very much, everybody, for coming. He said ‘Tina Smith’ way too many times. We need to say ‘Karin Housley’ a lot more.”

Ellison, who is running for Minnesota attorney general, has faced his own accusations. His ex-girlfriend alleges that the Democrat — who also is the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the first Muslim elected to Congress — was physically abusive during their relationship.

Trump ignored that controversy, though, zeroing in on policy differences. He lambasted Ellison for participating in a march while wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “I do not believe in borders.”

The president also steered clear of the criticism he heaped earlier this week on the woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault during their high school days. Those remarks during a similar rally in Southaven, Mississippi, highlighting gaps in Christine Blasey Ford’s claims, drew widespread condemnation.

Instead, Trump trained his fire on the Democrats trying to block Kavanaugh.

“Democrats have been trying to destroy Judge Brett Kavanaugh since the very first second he was announced,” he said.

Trump has kept up a frenetic pace as the midterm elections near. He has at least three more campaign stops planned between now and next Wednesday.

“Democrats have been trying to destroy Judge Brett Kavanaugh since the very first second he was announced.”

Trump said the Democrats’ tactics are failing.

“Their rage-fueled resistance is starting to backfire at a level that nobody has ever seen before,” he said. “Nobody’s ever seen it. Up 11, up 10, up 14. Nobody’s ever seen this before.”

Minnesota long has been a liberal bastion. It is one of only a handful of states with a Democratic governor and two Democratic senators. It last went Republican in a presidential election in 1972.

Related: Trump Boosts Hyde-Smith’s Senate Run, Rips Obstructionist Democrats

It would have been hard to tell that, though, based on the uproarious crowd in Rochester on Thursday night.

“This is supposed to be a Democrat state,” Trump said. “I don’t think so … They have a very big surprise coming.”

As he does at every campaign event, Trump reminded the audience of a ream of statistics pointing to a booming economy and highlighted foreign-policy successes.

Trump also bashed a frequent foil: the media.

“If we could ever get them on our side, we’d win for a thousand years,” he said.

Trump depicted Democrats as the party of crime, high taxes, and open borders.

“The only reason to vote Democrat is if you are tired of winning,” he said. “You’re winning a lot.”