The president talked tariffs and his former rivals during his first official rally for the 2020 election. He used his speech to position himself as a Washington outsider, 2 1/2 years into his presidential term.
US President Donald Trump officially launched his 2020 campaign with a rally in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday. In his speech, Trump accused his political foes of trying to "destroy" his supporters and the entire United States.
"Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice and rage. They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it. Not acceptable," said Trump, who has previously threatened to send violent criminals to heavily Democratic districts.
Despite currently residing in the White House, Trump once again positioned himself as a Washington outsider, claiming that he had fought the "political machine" during his presidency, which was why "the swamp is fighting back so viciously and violently."
Trump lashes out at Obama, Clinton and Mueller
Trump did not make any policy proposals but did spend considerable time criticizing his 2016 presidential rival Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama, neither of whom are currently engaged in politics.
He once again called the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian election meddling a "witch hunt."
Mueller has made it clear that is not the Justice Department's policy to indict a sitting president.
Trump touched on his massive tariffs against countries like India and China, claiming that the US is taking in "billions of dollars" on Chinese goods.
The tariffs have had massive negative consequences for US businesses and farms. Economists estimate the tariffs have cost the US at least $60 billion so far. Hundreds of US businesses and individuals have written to the Trump administration begging for a reduction in import taxes.
Crowd undeterred by inconsistencies
Trump went on to say that the Democrats would curb free speech if they came to power.
Many US reporters have said that his frequent attacks on journalism as "fake news" have worked to destabilize freedom of the press since he came into office.
DW Washington Bureau Chief Alexandra von Nahmen noted the length of time since the last White House press briefing as departing press secretary Sarah Sanders spoke at the rally.
Trump further claimed that the US economy was the "envy of the world," which prompted some of his critics on social media to point out the higher income inequality, more difficult access to health care and lower wages than in much of the industrialized world.
The crowd at the rally did not appear fazed by the many contradictions in Trump's speech, clapping uproariously and chanting "CNN sucks!" and "Lock her up!" in reference to Hillary Clinton.
DW spoke to several Trump supporters at the rally. All expressed their confidence he would be elected for a second term.
"I believe that the American people, when they examine the issues, will actually decide to vote for him because he has been the most effective president we've ever had," said Blake Marnell.
President Trump currently has higher average disapproval ratings than approval ratings, according to all major pollsters, including from conservative Fox News.
However, Eduard Whelan Portilla told DW that "Trump voters don't identify themselves in polls and they don't put out yard signs. They are afraid of Democrats breaking them and throwing stones at their houses. So there is a tremendous amount of secret support for Trump."
es/se (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)