Donald Trump is campaigning for a Republican Congress like his presidency is at stake – and it may well be.
If the “radical resistance” takes power, “they will move immediately to reverse American progress and to eradicate all of the gains that we have made,” Trump said during an airport rally Sunday in Macon, Georgia, the first of two southern stops just two days before congressional elections.
In Georgia and later in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the president echoed attacks that a Democratic Congress will seek to reverse the efforts of his administration, from tax cuts to reduced government regulations to new immigration restrictions on “criminal aliens.”
The election will decide “whether we let the radical Democrats take control of Congress and take a giant wrecking ball to our economy,” Trump said to a packed basketball arena at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Trump urged Republican voters not to “let the resistance take it all away.”
Many Democrats agree that they want to change Trump policies, saying his tax cuts and regulation rollbacks have benefited only the wealthy.
While Democrats have stressed health care on the stump, they have also accused Trump of engaging in racial politics with his constant attacks on “caravans” of migrants from Central America that he claims will bring crime to the United States.
“What you see in the closing argument is dog-whistle politics, appeals to racist – just the worst of America,” said Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Perez said Trump wants to “change the subject” because Republicans are “hemorrhaging (votes) on health care.”
Trump took Air Force One to Tennessee on behalf of U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, who is now running for a Senate seat. She faces a close race against Democrat Phil Bredesen, the state’s former governor. The winner replaces retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker.
Despite the emphasis on U.S. House and Senate races, Trump traveled to Georgia to speak out on a governor’s race, as GOP candidate Brian Kemp faces a tough battle against Democrat Stacey Abrams.
Echoing attacks he has made on Democratic candidates for Congress, Trump accused Abrams of being an “extreme far-left politician” who is eager to raise taxes, welcome “illegal aliens” to Georgia, and take away people’s guns. He has also described Abrams, an African-American woman, as unqualified for the Georgia governor’s job.
Asked about Trump’s criticisms during NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Abrams said she is a business owner, tax attorney, and former state legislative leader, and, “I find his assessments to be vapid and shallow.”
Promoting his own record, Trump made references to his re-election bid during the rally at Macon. At one point, supporters in Georgia began chanting, “Six more years! Six more years!”
Before leaving the White House for Georgia and Tennessee, Trump – who on Friday questioned whether Republicans would be able to keep control of the U.S. House – expressed more optimism while chatting with reporters.
“I think we’re going to do well in the House,” Trump said, though he added his “primary focus” has been retaining Republican control of the Senate.
During the rally in Tennessee, Trump predicted success in House and Senate races but told his supporters: “Who knows, right? Who knows? You’ve got to get out and vote.”
Citing an example of the stakes in Tuesday’s election, Trump said his hopes for a middle-class tax cut might vanish if Democrats win the House or the Senate. “We’ve got to win Congress because the Democrats won’t be doing that,” Trump said.
Privately, White House officials have also said that a Democratic congressional victory would mean a slew of investigations on items ranging from Trump’s taxes to alleged collusion with Russian hackers during the 2016 election.
In rally after rally over recent weeks, Trump has viciously attacked Democrats, accusing them of wanting to bring “socialism” to the economy, of seeking to ruin the heath care system, and of backing “open borders” to make it easier for “criminals” to enter the country.
“They will try to erase our gains and eradicate our progress,” Trump said during an an appearance Friday in Huntington, West Virginia.
It was during that same appearance that Trump acknowledged the possibility that Democrats may win the House.
“It could happen … could happen,” Trump told supporters at an airport rally in Huntington, West Virginia, adding that they shouldn’t be fearful if the Democrats prevail.
“Don’t worry about it – I’ll just figure it out,” Trump said.
After Georgia and Tennessee on Sunday, Trump wraps up his personal campaigning Monday with stops in states with Senate races: Cleveland, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
That last event is scheduled to include appearances by Fox News host Sean Hannity and radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, a native of Cape Girardeau.
Before that tour, on Monday morning, Trump plans to conduct a “telephone town hall” designed “to appeal to voters in critical districts and states, many of which were first-time voters or returned to the polls for the first time in years in 2016,” said a statement from the president’s 2020 re-election campaign.
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