At North Carolina Rally, Trump Bets on Divisive Attacks as Way to Bolster Re-election Bid

“Big Rally tonight in Greenville, North Carolina,” the president tweeted early Wednesday, saying he would play up economic growth and the booming stock market in a state that has narrowly tilted right in the past two presidential contests.

Many Republicans, including some of Mr. Trump’s advisers, wish he would stick to those themes, saying they think that he is overshadowing an economic success story by engaging in name-calling and divisive cultural clashes.

But while the president did devote time to the recent positive economic growth, and took credit for data showing that China’s gross domestic product is growing at its slowest rate in 27 years, he was most animated when attacking his Democratic rivals, particularly Ms. Omar, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Pressley, who are collectively known as “the squad.”

Mr. Trump denounced Ms. Ocasio-Cortez for branding federal migrant detention centers along the southwestern border “concentration camps,” saying she had, in effect, called border agents Nazis. And he recalled the way Ms. Tlaib had used what he called a “vicious” expletive when she vowed in January that Mr. Trump would be impeached.

“That’s not somebody that loves our country,” the president said.

Mr. Trump also ridiculed the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, like mocking the name of Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., and saying that former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. had “choked” in the last Democratic primary debate after Senator Kamala Harris of California challenged him on the issue of busing.

Depicting the 2020 Democrats as a hapless and left-wing lot, Mr. Trump delivered what may have been his core pitch: “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country. A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American Dream — frankly, the destruction of our country.”

Mr. Trump also boasted about an afternoon vote in the House on a resolution to impeach him that had been introduced by Representative Al Green, Democrat of Texas. The measure, opposed by House Democratic leaders wary of a potential backlash, failed 332 to 95.


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