WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump accused Democrats on Monday of being “un-American” and “treasonous” in a campaign-style speech in Cincinnati that was actually meant to tout the recent GOP tax bill and the economy.
“Can we call that treason?” Trump said, referring to Democrats who did not clap for him during his State of the Union address last week. “Why not? I mean, they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.”
At the State of the Union address, it is typical for politicians of the president’s party to enthusiastically applaud, while lawmakers in the opposite party usually have a muted response.
A handful of Democratic lawmakers did not attend last Tuesday’s address to protest Trump.
Trump suggested on Monday that Democrats were “very selfish” in not clapping for him. “They would rather see Trump do badly, OK, than our country do well,” he said.
Earlier in the speech, the president claimed that he was “non-braggadocious” after bragging about his first year in office.
Trump spoke at length about the midterm elections, even though White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters before the speech, held at a factory, that “this isn’t a political event.”
Interspersed with remarks about jobs and the economy, Trump brought up popular issues for his base, including the “fake news media” in attendance and the lack of players kneeling during the national anthem at Sunday’s Super Bowl, which he appeared to take some credit for.
“We’re one team, one people and one family, and we’re saluting one great American flag. And everybody stood up yesterday,” he said. “There was nobody kneeling at the beginning of the Super Bowl. We’ve made a lot of improvement, haven’t we? That is a big improvement, and on top of that, it was a good game. So a lot of good things happened. There was no kneeling before that Super Bowl.”
This story has been updated with additional details from Trump’s speech.