President Donald Trump had nothing but praise for his supporters at a campaign rally in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Tuesday, seemingly overlooking the fact that they had gathered en masse in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.
“I don’t know how many people [are] here, but there’s a lot,” Trump said, looking out at a closely packed crowd, many of whom were without masks. “We said let’s keep it down. They didn’t do too good a job, but that’s good. These crowds, I tell you it’s beyond what we had in terms of enthusiasm, beyond what we had four years ago in 2016, and that was a record enthusiasm and we are breaking that record by a lot.”
Trump then launched into praise for “Republican cities” and condemnation of “Democrat-run cities,” utilizing rhetoric that he has amplified both online and in person to slam the likes of Chicago, Minneapolis, New York and Portland.
“Republican cities and towns are doing great,” Trump said. “We’re doing great. And we don’t have crime and we don’t have this violence ... Joe Biden and his party spent the entire summer cheering on the rioters rampaging through Democrat-run cities, falsely labeling them as peaceful protesters. And you know, we call you peaceful protesters, you know why? Because they have rules in these Democrat-run states that if you’re campaigning, you can’t have more than five people.”
Trump went on to argue that coronavirus restrictions confined citizens to their homes unless they were willing “to riot and stand on top of each other’s face and do whatever the hell you want to do.”
“You’re allowed to do that because you’re considered a peaceful protester,” Trump said. “So we decided to call all our rallies peaceful protests.”
Trump’s claims that Republican-run cities are without violence ignore rising murder rates over the past year in cities like Jacksonville and Fort Worth, both of which have Republican mayors.
The president’s mocking words against minimal campaign rallies in Democrat-run states — a talking point echoed on Labor Day by his son, Eric Trump — also ignore the fact that Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s small-scale events have seen participants wearing masks and observing social distancing guidelines, while Trump’s packed rallies have been linked with surges in coronavirus cases. Biden has also repeatedly condemned violence at protests, another fact ignored by Trump during his speech.
Aside from these blatant claims, Trump boasted that reelection would have been easy if it hadn’t been for the “China plague,” and stated that Mexico was still going to pay for the border wall that had been a major talking point of his 2016 campaign via “toll booths” — without offering further details on how these tolls would actually be implemented.
Watch Trump’s entire speech below.