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Alex Brandon / AP

Speaking to the American Legion national convention in Reno today, according to prepared remarks provided to Axios AM, President Trump will declare that it's "time to heal the wounds that have divided us."

  • But in Phoenix last night, consumed by grievance, he unleashed some of the most divisive and deceptive attacks against the media in presidential history.
  • He accused the media of fanning the flames of racist protest, being anti-American, trying to erase our heritage, and then turning off cameras during his speech to hide his truth (it was all being carried live).
  • It was as if Trump, who was introduced by Vice President Pence, was taunting the rowdy crowd to turn on reporters.

Blaming "damned dishonest" reporters for the racial tension in America, he dramatically reread his past statements on Charlottesville — but omitted the "many sides" and "both sides" assertions that drew criticism even from top Republicans.

After the rally, police broke up protest crowds with tear gas, pepper spray, stun grenades and rubber bullets. (Video.)

The raucous crowd interrupted him with chants: "USA! USA! USA! ... CNN sucks! CNN sucks! CNN sucks! ... Build that wall! Build that wall! Build that wall!"

Trump said: "CNN does not want its falling viewership to watch what I'm saying tonight, I can tell you." But his remarks were being carried live on both CNN and CNN International (which we get on Fios here at the Axios AM Executive Residence).

Trump made lots of news:

  • "Believe me, if we have to close down our government, we're building that wall."
  • May pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio: "I'll make a prediction. I think he's going to be just fine, OK (APPLAUSE) ... But I won't do it tonight."
  • "We will renegotiate NAFTA, or we will terminate NAFTA. I personally don't think you can make a deal without a termination, but we're going to see what happens, OK? ... You're in good hands, I can tell you."
  • On the CEOs who left his business councils: "When it got a little heat with the lies from the media, they sort of said, 'Oh, we'll take a pass.' ... I remember the ones that did."
  • "But people are now calling me, people that have been, like, 'we'll take a pass': 'Don, can we get together for lunch? Let's do it privately, instead of through a council.' ... They are calling, and they're saying: 'How about getting together privately?'"
  • "I don't believe that any president has accomplished as much as this president in the first six or seven months. I really don't believe it."

More from Trump's 77-minute speech at a "Make America Great Again" campaign rally, ending at 11:25 p.m. ET:

  • "[V]ery dishonest media, those people right up there with all the cameras." (BOOING)
  • "But they don't report the facts. Just like they don't want to report that I spoke out forcefully against hatred, bigotry and violence and strongly condemned the neo-Nazis, the White Supremacists, and the KKK." (APPLAUSE)
  • "I hope they're showing how many people are in this room, but they won't. They don't even do that. The only time they show the crowds is when there's a disrupter or an anarchist in the room."
  • "All the networks — I mean, CNN is really bad, but ABC this morning — I don't watch it much, but I'm watching in the morning, and they have little George Stephanopoulos talking to Nikki Haley, right? Little George."
  • "[T]hey asked me, ... what about race relations in the United States? Now I have to say they were pretty bad under Barack Obama. That I can tell you."
  • On historic statues being removed: "They're trying to take away our culture. They are trying to take away our history. And our weak leaders, they do it overnight. These things have been there for 150 years, for 100 years. You go back to a university, and it's gone. Weak, weak people."

This fire will keep burning. Sean Hannity said on Fox News at 11 p.m., as he passed the live coverage over to Bret Baier, that his opening monologue tonight "will be directed at the corrupt media."

Be smart: Trump was on Sen. John McCain's turf, and called him out (without mentioning his name) for voting against the health-care bill — but didn't wish the state's most famous politician a speedy recovery from cancer.

Reporters at the rally say the taunting of the press increased as he ratcheted up his remarks. In this fevered environment, some journalist could get beaten, or worse.

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Go deeper

Updated 59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Vulnerable Democrats: Less Trump talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vulnerable House Democrats are convinced they need to talk less about the man who helped them get elected: President Trump.

Why it matters: Democrats are privately concerned nationalizing the 2022 mid-terms with emotionally-charged issues — from Critical Race Theory to Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — will hamstring their ability to sell the local benefits of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.