Timed to coincide with the White House Correspondents' Dinner, Trump spoke at a Michigan rally on Saturday night in what was deemed to be another throwback to his campaigning days, and covered a broad variety of topics, from the situation in Korea, to the stock market, to the "fake" mainstream media news, but his most memorable soundbite was that he could face impeachment if democrats win the midterm elections.
"We have to keep the House because if we listen to Maxine Waters, she’s going around saying ‘We will impeach him," Trump told the rally participants, adding that "I don't think we're going to have a lot of happy people if that happens."
Last week at a New York gala, Waters urged Trump to streamline the process and just “please resign.”
"So that I won’t have to keep up this fight of your having to be impeached because I don’t think you deserve to be there,” Waters said. “Just get out."
A recent Quinnipiac poll released on Thursday shows that if Democrats win control of the House, more than 70 percent of their supporters want them to begin impeachment proceedings.
Yet while Trump is correct in that Maxine has been demanding his impeachment, it is unclear how likely that is absent a total Republican collapse in the Senate (where two-thirds have to find the president guilty). Even Nancy Pelosi has warned against Democratic efforts to impeach Trump, saying it would end up harming the party before the midterm elections.
“On the political side I think it’s a gift to the Republicans,” Pelosi said Thursday. “We want to talk about what they’re doing to undermine working families in our country and what we are doing to increase their payrolls and lower their costs.”
Trump also touched on his favorite topic, the stock market. As a reminder, on April 6, shortly after launching the latest round of trade wars with China, Trump warned investors that "we may take a hit" in stocks and to prepare for "pain" in the market
Fast forward to last night when the president said that the stock market "could have been up 60% but I have to do things," adding that "I can’t let other countries take advantage of us,” in reference to the overhaul of existing trade agreements and tariffs. He also claimed that "the country is doing much better than the stock market", which Trump nonetheless pointed out was "up almost 35%" since the election.
Trump visited Macomb County, where Washington is located, days before the 2016 election, and went on to win the state of Michigan to help clinch an upset over Clinton. Perhaps that is why he reminisced at least three times about the 2016 campaign and his upset win over Democrat Hillary Clinton, complete with a cameo appearance on stage by one-time campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Trump also urged those present to vote against Democrats including Senators Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Jon Tester of Montana. “We need to drain the swamp, we need to vote against guys like Jon Tester, who can destroy a man with innuendo,” Trump said. “And we need to be very careful with the press, because they do the same damn thing.”
Never one to miss a chance to lash out at James Comey, the president did just that when he said that he did the nation a great favor by firing Comey, whom he termed “a liar and a leaker.”
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The rally took place a day after a historic meeting of the leaders of North and South Korea that could bring an end to a seven-decade war. Trump said that planning is under way for Trump to follow South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in with his own summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and Trump said the event could happen in three to four weeks. “It’s going be a very important meeting, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Trump said. During his speech about North Korea, the crowd started chanting "Nobel! Nobel!."
Of course, Trump did not fail to slam the concurrently running White House Correspondents Association dinner: "Is this better than that phony Washington White House Correspondents' Dinner? Is this more fun" Trump asked the audience to uproarious applause. "I could be up there smiling," Trump said "with these people they hate your guts."
“Is this better than that phony Washington White House Correspondents’ Dinner? ... I could be up there tonight smiling like I love when they're hitting you, shot after shot. These people, they hate your guts,” Trump says at a rally in Michigan https://t.co/QJfOkCpVI5 #WHCD pic.twitter.com/qzlJZzQXpr— CNN (@CNN) April 29, 2018
This was the second year the president skipped the annual media event; last year, Trump held a similar campaign-style rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. According to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the president had encouraged his staff to attend this year's dinner, despite foregoing the event himself.
"The president encouraged his staff and all of us to attend and so we did, and we felt like it was important for us to come out and be here," Sanders told CNN Saturday evening on the red carpet event preceding the dinner.
On Sunday morning, Trump doubled down his criticism, saying the media event was "a very big, boring bust."
"While Washington, Michigan, was a big success, Washington, D.C., just didn’t work. Everyone is talking about the fact that the White House Correspondents Dinner was a very big, boring bust..."
The president also said that entertainer Michelle Wolf “really ‘bombed’” during her routine at the dinner, calling her a “so-called comedian” and saying that Fox News host Greg Gutfeld should host the event next year.
While Washington, Michigan, was a big success, Washington, D.C., just didn’t work. Everyone is talking about the fact that the White House Correspondents Dinner was a very big, boring bust...the so-called comedian really “bombed.” @greggutfeld should host next year! @PeteHegseth— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 29, 2018
Considering some of the harsh responses by members of the media itself to Michelle Wolf's performance...
Unfortunately, I don't think we advanced the cause of journalism tonight.— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) April 29, 2018
Couldn’t agree more. So much important and amazing journalism this year — that should be the focus, when truth matters and is needed more than ever. It was an embarrassment in the room and surely to the audience at home. https://t.co/vhbnG6tn55— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) April 29, 2018
He’s talking about the White House Correspondents Assn dinner. He’s right. https://t.co/kTQtxpQKbD— Brit Hume (@brithume) April 29, 2018
If the #WHCD dinner did anything tonight, it made the chasm between journalists and those who don't trust us, even wider. And those of us based in the red states who work hard every day to prove our objectivity will have to deal with it.— Meg Kinnard (@MegKinnardAP) April 29, 2018
Michelle Wolf didn’t fail just because she was (spectacularly) one-sided. It was because she was unnecessarily cruel on a night the WHCA was trying to showcase decency and purpose.— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) April 29, 2018
Undermined an otherwise meaningful night.
.... Trump may be correct.