President Donald Trump singled out for attack a trio of Senate Democrats who have been among Brett Kavanaugh’s biggest critics, stirring up conservative support for his embattled Supreme Court nominee as he stressed to voters here the importance of keeping the Senate in GOP control this November.
As Kavanaugh’s fate hangs in the balance, Trump used his stump speech on behalf of Tennessee Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn to warn the crowd that Democrats are “trying to destroy a very fine person, and we can’t let it happen.”
Trump attacked Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., arguing that he “destroyed Newark” while serving as mayor of New Jersey’s largest city. Trump went after Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., whom he derisively called “Da Nang Blumenthal” stemming from a controversy in 2010 when Blumenthal came under severe criticism for exaggerating his service during the Vietnam War.
And as he had repeatedly done in recent days, Trump chastised Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., for keeping private the allegation against Kavanaugh from Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers. Feinstein, Blumenthal and Booker all sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Feinstein has said she kept Ford’s allegation private at her request.
“The Democrats only know how to obstruct, demolish and destroy,” Trump told a raucous crowd here. “As we’ve seen in recent weeks, Democrats are willing to do anything and to hurt anyone to get their way, like they’re doing with Judge Kavanaugh.”
Trump added: “They’ve been trying to destroy him since the very first second he was announced.”
Most people in the boisterous crowd in Johnson City, the home of East Tennessee State University, stayed on their feet for Trump’s hour-long speech, which touched on recent news about Kavanaugh, the trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and campaign-trail classics, like criticizing the media and building the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
When Trump declared Kavanaugh a “good man” with “great intellect,” a woman in a red sparkly cowboy hat waved her pink “Women for Trump” sign in the air.
When he said that the Democratic Party has been “completely taken over by the resistance,” several people in the audience shouted, “Communists!”
And when Trump decried the “fake news media,” many in the crowd turned toward the press risers and booed. Rick Wood, who came to the rally from North Carolina in a “FNN – Fake News Network” T-shirt, gave a thumbs down and shook his head.
Trump’s Monday night rally in Tennessee is the first of four rallies this week. In addition to the rally here, Trump also headlined a fundraiser for Blackburn, who is locked in a competitive battle with former governor Phil Bredesen, D, for the seat of retiring Sen. Bob Corker, R.
Trump won the state by 26 percentage points in 2016. But Bredesen has narrowed the gap with Blackburn by distancing himself from national Democrats. A CNN poll last month showed Bredesen garnering the support of 50 percent of likely voters; Blackburn took 45 percent.
Later this week, Trump has scheduled rallies for Republican candidates in Mississippi, Minnesota and Kansas as part of a campaign-trail blitz one month ahead of the midterm elections.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Rachel Chason, Seung Min Kim