LAKE CHARLES, La. – President Donald Trump held a rally in Louisiana on Friday, campaigning for Republican gubernatorial candidates. Trump is advocating the GOP candidates – U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone – over incumbent Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards. He spoke for about 90 minutes, on a wide range of topics, including impeachment and China. Here are some highlights.
The China deal
Trump celebrated a trade deal announced Friday, which includes an agreement “in principle” to prevent intellectual property theft and for China to buy $40 billion to $50 billion of U.S. agricultural goods.
Trump called it a “great deal” that he forged, pushing his administration to go further.
“My people wanted to stop at $20” billion, he said, “I said no.”
He said he pushed for the deal to help farmers, “I love my farmers.”
The details of the agreement have yet to be put to paper and formalizing them is at least a month away.
Trump said he hopes to agree on specifics when he and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet at an economic summit in Chile in mid-November.
Family friendly rally?
Trump pounded his congressional critics, including House Democrats pursuing an impeachment inquiry. The Democrats are investigating Trump’s pressuring of the Ukrainian government to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
Trump called it a “con job” pushed by those upset by his election. He said he was targeted during the Russian investigation into influence in the 2016 election, and when that failed they jumped on his contact with the Ukrainian government.
In one of his biggest applause lines of the night, Trump condemned the congressional impeachment inquiry in not-so-family-friendly terms.
“They know they can’t win an election, so they’re pursuing an illegal, invalid, unconstitutional bullshit impeachment.”
Remember the 11th Commandment
Trump gave the Republican candidates a chance to speak, but he didn’t want them taking on each other.
In Louisiana, candidates compete in an open primary where the top two candidates compete in a runoff if no one receives more than 50 percent of the vote. Republicans are hoping that one of their gubernatorial candidates can force a runoff with Edwards. The incumbent has a chance to win the race without a runoff, according to polling that shows him with about 45 percent support and a large undecided vote.
As Trump introduced Abraham and Rispone, he told them Edwards is the target.
“You’re not allowed to hit your Republican opponent,” Trump said. “You’re only allowed to hit John Bel Edwards because he deserves it.
Go vote or don’t enjoy LSU game
The president invoked SEC football in his appeal to get voters out to support GOP candidates for governor. He said he knows Louisianans enjoy their LSU football, and are anticipating the 7 p.m. game against Florida.
Trump praised LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who has sparked the Tigers’ offense this season with an explosive passing performance to earn him early mentions as a Heisman Trophy finalists.
“But I don’t want you to enjoy the game if you don’t vote first,” Trump said.
He urged Louisianans to vote first, enjoy the game later.
Awkward White House tweet
Just before President Trump took the stage to criticize Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards on taxes and the economy, the White House tweeted: “Louisiana’s jobless rate has reached its lowest level in more than a decade! Wages (up) Unemployment (down).”
Edwards’ campaign staff seized on the tweet.
But someone from Congressman Abraham’s campaign countered: “Of course the jobless rate went down. We lost all of our unemployed to Texas.”
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