At Louisiana Rally, Trump Lashes Out at Impeachment Inquiry, Pelosi

LAKE CHARLES, La. — President Trump used foul language, fierce political attacks and personal grievance to light up his supporters at a rally here Friday night, turning up the volume on his re-election campaign rhetoric for the second day in a row.

The president lashed out at the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, saying that the top Democrat in Congress “hates this country” and lashing out at her decision to begin an impeachment inquiry into his efforts to get foreign countries to dig up damaging information on his rivals.

To the delight of thousands who repeatedly roared their approval, Mr. Trump denounced the impeachment inquiry and condemned what he called the “unholy alliance of corrupt Democrat politicians, deep-state bureaucrats and the fake news media.”

“The radical Democrats’ policies are crazy. Their politicians are corrupt. Their candidates are terrible,” Mr. Trump said to huge applause. “And they know they can’t win on Election Day so they’re pursuing an illegal, invalid and unconstitutional bullshit impeachment.”

Regarding Ms. Pelosi, he said, “She hates the country. Nancy Pelosi hates the United States of America, because she wouldn’t be doing this.”

Mr. Trump’s latest political rally came only a day after he appeared in front of supporters in Minneapolis to deliver a profanity-laced screed against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and called his younger son, Hunter, a “loser.” Mr. Trump only briefly returned to Washington, where an impeachment inquiry surrounding his efforts to pressure the Ukrainian president to uncover damaging information about the Bidens is rapidly moving forward.

In a head-spinning 24 hours before departing for Louisiana, Mr. Trump announced a preliminary deal with China that will forestall a tariff increase, and the Pentagon announced it would send additional troops to Saudi Arabia — a decision Mr. Trump said was made because the Saudis had “agreed to pay us for everything.” A federal appeals court also ruled Friday that the president’s financial team must turn over eight years of Mr. Trump’s financial information to a House committee.

And in a closed-door deposition on Capitol Hill, Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former American ambassador to Ukraine, offered a scathing assessment of the Trump administration’s approach to foreign policy, adding that she believed Mr. Trump had personally pushed for her removal for months.

Asked about Ms. Yovanovitch’s testimony before he left Washington, Mr. Trump said that Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, “didn’t speak favorably” about her during the July 25 phone call that has formed the basis of the impeachment inquiry.

Amid it all, Mr. Trump left again for the campaign trail, which he has long employed as a useful conduit for his most provocative language, particularly when he feels the confines of Washington closing in. After deciding to give a Louisiana-based Little League team an impromptu ride back home on Air Force One, he announced the departure of Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security who has publicly grown frustrated in recent weeks, from the road. And the president came to this southwestern corner of the state prepared to defend himself.

For days, he has also been dropping messages on Twitter meant to test his political influence over local races ahead of Saturday’s primary election, largely following the same attack-style playbook he deployed last month in a close North Carolina race.

On Friday, he urged his supporters to vote for one of two Republican candidates running to replace John Bel Edwards, the state’s Democratic governor. The president accused Mr. Edwards of a poor track record on cutting taxes and lowering car insurance costs, and said the governor “is suspect on your 2nd Amendment!”

At the rally, the president was not expected to endorse either of the Republican candidates — Ralph Abraham, a third-term congressman, and Eddie Rispone, a Baton Rouge businessman — with the goal of simply keeping Mr. Edwards from earning the majority of the vote and avoiding a runoff.

“Both Republicans can gang up on him to do that,” a Trump campaign official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to not describe internal deliberations.

At the rally, Mr. Trump directed his supporters to vote.

“I need you to send the radical Democrat establishment a loud and clear message,” Mr. Trump told the crowd. “You are going to fire your Democratic governor. He’s done a lousy job.”

But Mr. Edwards is popular, with recent polls showing that he is likely to draw about 47 percent of the vote. Keeping with a tradition of Louisiana Democrats, he is largely a centrist, and earlier this year pleased conservatives when he signed a restrictive law that bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

He is also practiced at the art of political survival in other deep-red territories: Last year, he was the only Democratic lawmaker to attend the first state dinner of the Trump administration, an event that honored Emmanuel Macron, the president of France.

On Friday, the governor responded to the president on Twitter by defending his track record on the Second Amendment, and saying that he looked forward to working with Mr. Trump during his second term.

Michael D. Shear contributed reporting from Washington.


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