President Donald Trump, in a wide-ranging set of remarks at a Pennsylvania campaign rally for congressional candidate Rick Saccone, urged support for the GOP hopeful. He also said that the Democrat in the race, Conor Lamb, was likely to vote the party line despite efforts to distance himself from the national party.
And, on another note, he took a swipe at NBC host Chuck Todd at the Saturday-night event, calling the news anchor a “son of a b—–”
The president mentioned a 1999 appearance on “Meet the Press” where he can be seen talking about North Korea and his stance on the situation, which has remained the same since: “You got to take them out now!”
“It’s 1999, I’m on “Meet the Press,” a show now headed by sleepy-eyes Chuck Todd,” Trump said. “He’s a sleeping son of a b—-, I’ll tell you.”
Trump also took the opportunity to slam CNN for its coverage over his decision to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
“Fake as hell CNN. The worst. So fake.”
Trump was speaking at a campaign rally in Moon Township, Pa., in a show of support for Saccone, who is facing a tough special congressional election outside of Pittsburgh.
In lengthy remarks at the evening rally, Trump told Pennsylvania voters that his new tariffs were saving the steel industry and urged them to send a Republican to the House so he can keep delivering those kinds of results.
We need our Congressman Saccone” to “keep America great,” Trump said, framing the race as a national referendum ahead of the 2018 midterms, which will determine which party controls Capitol Hill.
The president dismissed Democrat Lamb’s efforts to distance himself from his national party and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. “We need Republicans put in office,” Trump later added.
In the final days leading up to Tuesday’s competitive election, Trump warned Pennsylvania voters not to fall for Lamb, who has shown support for Trump over his own party.
“The people of Pittsburgh cannot be conned by this guy Lamb,” Trump said. “He’s never going to vote for us.
“He can say, ‘I love President Trump.’ I don’t want to meet him. I might like him,” the president quipped.
He warned that although Lamb has voiced his opinion against Pelosi, if Democrats do win control, Lamb will surely “vote the party line.”
The president noted that Lamb and Saccone have both endorsed his new tariffs on steel and aluminum. But he made clear that tariffs “are my baby” and are not supported by Democrats. Plenty of Republicans do, as well. But the president said the policy is evidence of his defense of the working class.
Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District has an estimated 17,000 steelworkers and almost 90,000 voters from union households.
“Not all of our friends on Wall Street love it, but we love it,” Trump said of the tariffs.
Trump’s appearance was an attempt to help Saccone in the closing days of a special election to replace Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned last year amid revelations of an extramarital affair in which he is said to have urged his mistress to get an abortion when he thought she was pregnant.
Murphy, an eight-term congressman, never had a close election. But Saccone has struggled with his own fundraising and hasn’t run as aggressive a campaign as Lamb, prompting criticism from Republicans in Washington.
Trump, referring to those dynamics, noted talk of Lamb as a handsome candidate. But he said he thinks he’s better looking, and added that Saccone “is handsome,” too.
For his part, Saccone was delighted to have support from the White House.
“The president’s support is key to attaining victory,” Saccone told rally attendees about 45 minutes before Trump took the stage. “There’s no one that I would rather have in my corner than President Trump. Are you with me on that?”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.