National Security

Trump Opens MAGA Rally with Call to End ‘Politics of Personal Destruction’

President again reminds mainstream media of shared responsibility in setting tone of the national discourse

Image Credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump opened his Make America Great Again (MAGA) rally Friday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, by declaring, “Everyone will benefit if we can end the politics of personal destruction” in American politics.

While praising the FBI and other law enforcement agencies for identifying and arresting a Florida man, 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc, as the prime suspect in creating and sending more than a dozen crude explosive devices to prominent national Democrats this week, Trump emphasized that “political violence must never be allowed in America, and I will always do everything in my power to stop it.”

“In recent days, we’ve had a broader national conversation about the tone and civility of our national dialogue. Everyone will benefit if we can end the politics of personal destruction. We must unify as a nation in peace, love and harmony,” he said.

But just in case anyone thought Trump might be going soft, he plowed ahead with his now-familiar criticisms of and injunctions to the media, noting that it “has a major role to play, whether they want to or not. And they do indeed have a major role to play as far as tone and as far as everything.”

Related: Reacting to Suspect’s Arrest, Media Rips into Trump

“And we say this in all sincerity, but the media’s constant unfair coverage, deep hostility and negative attacks, you know that, only serve to drive people apart and to undermine healthy debate.”

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Trump went on at greater length about the media than he has in previous MAGA rallies.

“For example, we have seen in recent hours an effort by the media to use the actions of one individual to score political points against me and the Republican Party,” he said.

“Yet when a Bernie Sanders supporter tried to murder congressional Republicans and severely wounded a great man named Steve Scalise and others, we did not use that heinous attempt at mass murder for political gain because that would have been wrong, the wrong thing to do.”

“And it is time for us,” he added, “to replace the politics of anger and destruction with a real debate about the real issues. And we want honest coverage from the media, that’s all we want.”

The rest of Trump’s remarks were his vintage “America First” analysis of international affairs and his “drain the swamp” comments about Washington on domestic issues.

“We have all the cards, we have all the cards because we are the piggy bank that everybody wants to attack and rob and steal from,” he said regarding his efforts to denuclearize North Korea and maintain productive relationships with Russia, China, and other real and potential adversaries, along with U.S. allies such as South Korea, Japan, and Europe.

Related: Eight Desperate Media Attempts to Tie Trump to the ‘Suspicious Packages’ Sent to CNN, Dems

“This is one of the most important elections of our lifetime. Under Republican leadership, America is booming, America is thriving, and America is winning because we are putting America first.”

“I said the other day I’m not a globalist, I’m a nationalist,'” he said. Then, gesturing toward the media covering the event, Trump continued, “They said ‘Oh, that’s terrible, that’s so terrible.'”

“I’m for us and you know what? We’re going to help the globe. But we have to help ourselves. I want to help the globe, but we have to take care of ourselves also. It’s been so unfair what’s been happening to our country for so many years.”

Then the president quickly turned to domestic issues.

“The unemployment rate just fell to the lowest level in 50 years. We have eliminated a record number of job-killing regulations, passed a massive tax cut for working families, and we will soon follow it up with another 10 percent tax cut for the middle class,” he said.

“We are taking great care of our veterans, and our military will soon be more powerful than it has ever been before … We will be stronger than we’ve ever been before, and hopefully we’ll never have to use it. You know how that will happen? By doing just what I’m doing right now, and they’ll say, ‘Let’s just leave them alone.'”

The president said voting for Democrats would be a vote for open borders and tax hikes — while voting for Republicans would be for safety and jobs.

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