Trump takes victory lap on Mueller report during rally in Michigan
Joe Raedle/Getty Images(GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.) — Within minutes of taking the stage, President Donald Trump celebrated the attorney general’s summary of the special counsel’s investigation with his supporters during a rally in Michigan Thursday.
“The special counsel completed its report and found no collusion and no obstruction. I could have told you that two and a half years ago very easily,” Trump said.
At the mention of special counsel Robert Mueller, who president Trump likened to a “god” for the Democrats, the crowd erupted in boo’s.
Characterizing the investigation as a “phony” and “disgusting” cloud, the president said the motive was denial of his election victory.
“They did it all because they refused to really accept the results, of one of the greatest presidential elections, probably number one in our history,” the president said.
Trump went on to attack House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff, who Republicans have called to resign, accusing him of a promoting a “false narrative” ahead of the release of the Mueller report.
“Little pencil necked Adam Schiff,” the president said.
“He has the smallest, thinnest neck I’ve ever seen,” the president added, calling the Democrats “sick people.”
It’s the president’s first campaign rally since Mueller completed his report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
After months of calling the Mueller investigation a “witch hunt,” the president incorporated the conclusion of “no collusion” in his campaign rhetoric, based on a four-page summary of Mueller’s report by Attorney General William Barr, which was released on Sunday. The special counsel handed off his full report to the Department of Justice on Friday.
Trump’s supporters are eager to celebrate. The enthusiasm even rippled 100 miles away from the where the president spoke in an agricultural community in Saginaw County, that flipped red for Trump in the 2016 election. Third-generation farmer Donald Wendland Jr. took a break from the family business Wednesday to share his delight in the end of special counsel’s probe.
“I’m glad he got vindication,” Michigan farmer Don Wendland Jr. said.
Wendland said he believes Democrats will only push voters into the arms of Republicans by refusing to accept the results.
“I think it was a witch hunt.,” he told ABC News. “It’s kind of sickening to see it. They never built that man up.”
Winning back Michigan will be key for the Democrats in 2020, after Trump became the first Republican to win the state in almost 30 years. Wendland, who praised the president’s efforts on agriculture, believes the Democratic Party is too divisive and progressive to win over Trump supporters.
“My family’s roots were always small government, pro-life, pro-second amendment — work hard. I’m not looking for a hand out,” he said.
Democrats will be tasked with winning over voters who are satisfied with the results of the president’s economy — the state’s unemployment in February held at 4 percent for the fifth straight month. And Republicans, including the president, will have to contend with the reality of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who defeated her Republican opponent in the 2018 midterm elections, despite Hillary Clinton’s loss there in 2016.
Some believe the gubernatorial sweep by Democrats will lead to the defeat of Trump, but Tim Kelly, a former member of the Michigan House of Represenatives, disagrees.
“The Trump voter isn’t necessarily a Republican voter. They are solely his voters,” the Republican said.
He said he has noticed a clear difference in how voters support Trump versus others in the GOP.
“When he goes to these rallies and says I want you to vote for Republicans, they aren’t as enthusiastic as when he says I want you to vote for me,” Kelly said.
Still Democrats are laying the groundwork as they attempt to unseat the sitting president.
Democratic candidates Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand have already targeted the key state with early visits and other candidates, such as Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris have scheduled dates to hold events there.
And Michigan Democrats have partnered with other key states in an effort to defeat Trump.
“The Michigan Democratic Party is proud to partner with our friends from Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin,” Lavora Barnes, the Michigan Democratic Party chairperson, said in a statement. “This effort will not only strengthen our respective abilities to defeat Trump in 2020 but it will allow us to get an early start on laying the groundwork to elect Democrats up and down the ballot throughout Michigan and across the country.”
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