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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."

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Health

Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden's plan to accelerate the reopening of K-8 schools faces major challenges from a still out-of-control pandemic and more contagious coronavirus variants.

Why it matters: The longer American kids miss in-person schooling, the further they fall behind. But the uncertain state of the science on the role young children play in the pandemic continues to complicate efforts to reopen schools.

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.