Oct 19, 2018 - Politics & Policy

Trump's closing arguments for the 2018 midterms

President Trump speaks at a podium during a rally outside in Montana

Trump speaks at Minuteman Aviation hangar in Montana last night. Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP

President Trump, spelling out his closing arguments for the 18 days of midterm campaigning ahead, told a rally in Montana last night: "This will be an election of Kavanaugh, the caravan, law and order, and common sense."

Be smart... Trump's new list is a variation on the unifying themes we identified earlier this fall in his tweets and rallies: migration, MS-13, media and Mueller.

  • "The caravan" is a reference to 3,000 Hondurans heading through Guatemala to Mexico and then the U.S. border.
  • Trump tweeted yesterday: "I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught - and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!"
  • AP calls closing the border "a nearly unthinkable move that would disrupt hundreds of thousands of legal freight, vehicle and pedestrian crossings each day."
  • There's no evidence that, as Trump suggested, Democrats or their allies are backing the Central American caravan.
  • Trump was kicking off three consecutive rallies out West, continuing tonight in Mesa, Ariz., and Saturday in Elko, Nev. On Monday evening, he'll hold a rally in Houston.

At the Missoula rally, Trump elaborated on his themes, with supporters behind him holding signs saying 'FINISH THE WALL" and "DRAIN THE SWAMP":

  • "What they did to Brett Kavanaugh and his beautiful family is a national disgrace that will not be soon forgotten. Remember that![Applause.] And come Election Day, Americans will remember Kavanaugh."
  • "[A] lot of money's been passing through people to come up and try and get to the border by Election Day, because they think that's a negative for us.  Number one, they're being stopped. And number two: Regardless, that's our issue."
  • "As you know, I'm willing to send the military to defend our southern border if necessary." [Cheering.]
  • On illegal immigration: "I will say I have caused the problem. I'm taking full blame. You know why? [Pausing to imagine the reaction.] Everyone's, like, in shock. ... Hey look, 'Fake News' [indicating cameras in the back]: It's my problem. I caused it. Because I have created such an incredible economy, I have created so many jobs, I've made this country and you so great, that everybody wants to come in! So they're all pouring in, or trying to."
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