Trump's unhinged Pennsylvania rally proves it's always about him

The rally may have been for a struggling Republican candidate, but Trump soaked up all the limelight

Published March 11, 2018 11:03AM (EDT)

 (Getty/Win McNamee)
(Getty/Win McNamee)

The reason for the rally may have changed, but the man running the show is still exactly the same.

In the latest installment to President Donald Trump's freewheeling political rallies, the targets of the gathering in Moon Township, Pennsylvania on Saturday night were the usual suspects: figures of the mainstream media, and Democratic politicians.

The performance was reminiscent of Trump's rallies as a candidate, and was filled with partisan attacks, misleading or false statements, a brand new slogan and plenty of brags.

"Don’t forget, this got us elected," Trump said of his impromptu style that is at stark contrast with much of Washington, according to Politico. "If I came like a stiff, you guys wouldn’t come here tonight."

The comments came after Trump lambasted a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, which prompted him to defend the notion that he is "very presidential." To prove as much, he awkwardly stood as stiff as board and mocked politicians with his own monotone impression.

The rally was held for Republican Rep. Rick Saccone, who Trump pleaded with members of the audience to "vote like crazy" for in Tuesday's special election. Saccone's opponent is Democratic candidate Conor Lamb, who Trump dubbed, "Lamb the sham," and who he said has been "trying to act like a Republican."

Trump carried Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District by 20 points in the 2016 election, however, Republicans have grown concerned over Saccone's ability to secure a victory as the race has become closer than previously thought.

"The whole world, remember that. They're all watching," Trump said. "This is a very important race. Very important."

But regardless of Trump's purpose for being there, he continued to keep himself and his agenda at the center of attention and stuck only to "about five minutes" of what had been scripted for the night, a White House official told CNN.

Trump viciously attacked Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., as a "very low IQ individual." The president's targeted attack is just the latest in a series of insults typically directed at women, or people of color.

He also went after NBC host Chuck Todd, and called him a "sleeping son of a bitch."

Todd responded on Sunday, and said, "I think yesterday’s rally is a reminder: he’s feeling great. This is the presidency he always wanted."

He continued, "I bring my kids up to respect the office of the presidency and the President."

"I don’t allow them to say anything negative, ever, about the president," he told an NBC affiliate. "It creates a challenge to all parents when he uses vulgarities like that."

Facts have always been loosely defined under the Trump era and he kept that sentiment alive and well when he claimed he won 52 percent of the female vote in 2016. The reality is that Trump won 52 percent of the vote from white women, and only 41 percent of all women.

The president touted his agenda and warned the crowd that Republicans were needed in office to ensure that his plans could be carried out. He went on to brag about the tax cuts he signed in late December last year, and his recent decision to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The president once again echoed his belief that drug dealers should face the death penalty.

"I think it's a discussion we have to start thinking about," he said. "I don't know if we're ready — I don't know if this country's ready for it."

Of course, Trump also gave a small preview of the not-so-far ahead future, and it involved a new slogan that kept its same original ring.

"Our new slogan, when we start running, in — can you believe it, two years from now — is going to be, Keep America Great, exclamation point," the president said.

By Charlie May

MORE FROM Charlie May