(CN) — President Donald Trump was given a warm welcome by a packed crowd of supporters in heavily liberal downtown Minneapolis as he laid into his political opponents Thursday night.
The event marked the first Trump-styled rally since the launch of an impeachment inquiry brought by Democrats against him last month.
Trump came out with fiery insults and opposition against former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and the Minneapolis mayor, as well as touting his signature styled opposition to “phony polls” and “fake news.”
The rally centered itself in the heart of the most liberal district in Minneapolis and the home of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has been spotlighted by the president in the past in remarks his critics deemed to be racist. Hours before the rally began, protesters packed the streets outside the Target Center, many of whom chanted "Lock him up!" referring to the president.
Trump, not passing up an opportunity to criticize Omar on her home turf, called her a disgrace to the country and pointed to her as one of the reasons why he is going to win reelection in 2020.
President Trump faces an uphill battle to win Minnesota electoral votes as the state has not been won by a Republican presidential candidate since Richard Nixon in 1972.
Even during Ronald Reagan’s huge 49-state landslide victory, Minnesota stood alone voting for Walter Mondale, as his home state. Despite a large Democratic presence in the state, the 2016 election was tight, with Hillary Clinton winning the it by only 1.5%, a voter block the president hopes to grab in the coming election.
Minneapolis Mayor, Jacob Frey engaged in a spat with Trump leading up to the rally when he demanded a $530,000 public safety bill for use of the Target Center, which is owned by the city. The president fired back, calling it an “outrageous abuse of power.” Trump later took to his Twitter account to accuse the mayor of being from the “radical left,” and insinuating that his goal was to “price out free speech.”
Lt. Bob Kroll, the head of the Minneapolis police union, took to the stage before the president and applauded Trump for his support of law enforcement, while also criticizing Frey.
“The mayor said the president wasn’t welcome, but the Police Federation of Minneapolis begs to differ,” Kroll told the crowd.
Trump later invited members of the Minneapolis police union to the stage to thank them for their service, adding further comments directed at Frey.
“I think your very weak mayor made a mistake when he took them on,” Trump said, prompting jeers from the crowd.
Trump blasted the impeachment inquiry by House Democrats over his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky when he asked for an investigation into Biden and his family.
“The wretched Washington swamp has been trying to nullify the results of a truly great and democratic election,” Trump said. “The Democrats’ brazen attempt to overthrow our government will produce a backlash at the ballot box the likes of which they have never ever seen before in the history of this country.”
President Trump defended his Ukranian investigation request, claiming that he released the transcript of the call because it contained no incriminating or negative content. The president claimed that the call was so good that California Rep. Adam Schiff, who he referred to as “crooked” and “shifty Schiff,” had to “make up a conversation that never happened.”
Trump’s scathing assessment of House Democrats led him back to accusing the press of being fake, claiming the allegations played “right into their hand.”
“The do-nothing Democrat extremists have gone so far left that they believe it should not be a crime to cross our border illegally and that it should be a crime to have a totally appropriate, casual, beautiful, accurate phone call with a foreign leader,” Trump said. “Democrats are on a crusade to destroy our democracy, that’s what is happening.”
Trump then redirected his ire back to Democrat presidential candidate Biden.
“If you can’t beat him (Biden) in a debate, you can’t be president,” Trump said. “Because what are you going to do against President Xi and Kim Jong-Un if you can’t beat Sleepy Joe?”
Trump belittled Biden’s lengthy political career by claiming he was only a good vice president because he “knew how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass.”
Eric Trump offered a brief speech earlier in the evening, criticizing the Bidens in a similar fashion and accusing Hunter Biden of “embezzlement” from a Ukrainian energy business, prompting chants of “lock him up” from the crowd, echoing past chants against Hillary Clinton.
“We don’t need to lock him up, we’re just going to beat the hell out of him,” the president's son said.
Despite a large opposition protest outside Target Center, the president’s rally was only interrupted once by a protester with a whistle who was promptly removed from the building by police.
The disruption was quickly drowned out by the 20,000 people the president claimed were in attendance. Trump also claimed that another 25,000 were outside and unable to get into the packed event.
The president touched on immigration and refugee policies, commenting on Minnesota’s large Somali population, which immediately drew boos from the crowd. Trump claimed that the state accepted a surge of Somalis without considering the “impact on schools, communities and taxpayers,” and promised to increase enhanced vetting policies and immigration control.
To combat disdain of the resettlement programs, Trump suggested that the crowd, “speak with the mayor,” after promising reform to not allow resettlement without the consent of state government.
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