President Trump is holding a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Saturday night at the same time as the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.
Presidents have traditionally attended and spoken at the dinner in Washington, D.C., but Mr. Trump has chosen to hold competing rallies on the night of the event every year since taking office. This time, the president will look to fire up his base in one of the battleground states he flipped in 2016, and distance himself from intensifying Congressional inquiries by House Democrats.
Despite the 2020 election being a year and a half away, Mr. Trump has been campaigning in earnest. He has criticized several of the 21 candidates running for the Democratic nomination and expressed confidence that he could defeat former Vice President Joe Biden, who entered the race on Thursday after months of speculation.
Here are some of the most notworthy moments from the rally:
Trump fires up supporters for 2020: “You took back your country” in 2016
The president urged his supporters to come out in large numbers to help him secure reelection next year and repeat his poll-defying victory in 2016 — which he suggested heralded a fundamental shift for the country.
“You took back your country,” Mr. Trump proclaimed, prompting numerous chants of “four more years!”
“You have always been loyal to your nation. Now you finally have a president who is loyal to you,” he added.
President brags about coming up with plan to send migrants to “sanctuary cities”
Pivoting to his signature campaign issue — immigration — the president bragged about being the one who devised the controversial proposal of sending migrants apprehended along the U.S.-Mexico border to so-called “sanctuary cities,” municipalities across the country which limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
“That was actually my sick idea,” he told his ardent supporters.
Mr. Trump denounced the immigration policy stances of “wealthy liberals,” who he accused of advocating for open borders but living behind walls and gates.
Trump defends climate accords withdrawal: “How’s Paris doing?”
Mr. Trump defended his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the landmark Paris climate accords in the summer of 2017, asking the Wisconsin crowd, “How’s Paris doing?”
To argue he made the right choice, the president repeatedly invoked the French capital. Although it’s unclear what specific problems he was referring to, Mr. Trump mentioned the yellow vest movement, which has led mass protests to denounce austerity measures and tax hikes implemented by President Emmanuel Macron since last year.
At a National Rifle Association event Friday, the president appeared to reenact the 2015 terror attacks in Paris to denounce the city’s strict gun laws and argue that armed civilians could’ve prevented the massacre, which left 130 dead.
Jussie Smollett case is “a disgrace to our nation,” Trump says
The president again criticized the way Chicago prosecutors handled the case of Empire star Jussie Smollet, whom he called a “third rate actor.”
“That case is a disgrace to our nation,” he said to a raucous applause.
In late February, Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts after authorities said he filed a phony police report and paid two men to stage a hate crime against him. Smollett has denied the charges, and then last month, prosecutors dropped all the charges after reaching a deal with the actor’s lawyers. The case gathered national attention, and Chicago prosecutors were harshly rebuked by the city’s mayor and police chief.
Trump on Synagogue shooting: “Our entire nation mourns the loss of life”
After underscoring there was no place he’d rather be on a Saturday night other than in Green Bay — which he called “America’s heartland” — the president expressed his condolences to the victims of a Synagogue shooting in southern California earlier in the day.
“Our entire nation mourns the loss of life,” he told the crowd, stressing that anti-semitism must be “defeated.”
Local authorities in Califrnia said a gunman entered a Synagogue in the San Diego suburb of Poway on Saturday and opened fire, killing one person and injuring three others.
How to watch
- What: President Trump’s Make America Great Again Rally
- Where: Resch Center, Green Bay, Wisconsin
- When: April 27, 8:00 p.m. EDT
- How to watch: On CBSN, in the live player above
Trump golfs with Japanese leader before rally
Mr. Trump visited the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, to play golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before traveling to Wisconsin. The president and Abe met at the White House Friday evening as part of a series of talks to negotiate a trade deal.
Abe is in Washington for two days, as they discuss a range of security and economic issues. Mr. Trump wants Japan to move toward a bilateral free trade agreement, but Japan has been reluctant, preferring instead an accord that includes several countries. Together, the U.S. and Japanese economies account for nearly a third of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
On Friday, Mr. Trump told reporters he and Abe would talk about “missiles and rockets and everything else” as they work toward a deal, which he believes could happen “fairly quickly.”
Abe has visited the White House before, and this year, Mr. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will visit him in Japan from May 25 to 28. Mr. Trump said they may attend a sumo wrestling match during the visit.
— Kathryn Watson
White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner held without Trump
Mr. Trump announced earlier this month he would be skipping the annual White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner and hold a campaign rally instead. This will be his third year in a row skipping the annual gathering of journalists, celebrities and big names in politics.
Speaking to reporters in early April, Mr. Trump said the dinner was “so boring” and “too negative.” Last year’s speech at the WHCA dinner by comedian Michelle Wolf was criticized by the Trump administration and members of the press after she mocked Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
The WHCA will be going a different route this year by tapping Ron Chernow, a biographer of American presidents and statesmen, to be the featured speaker at the annual dinner.
Last year, Mr. Trump held a rally in Michigan on the night of the dinner. The year before, he spoke to supporters in Pennsylvania. During both events, he slammed members of the media and the annual gathering, telling attendees he was spending time with “much better people” than the D.C. press corps.
— Emily Tillett
Trump says he is a “young, vibrant man” compared to Biden
Since Biden launched his campaign on Thursday, Mr. Trump has repeatedly proclaimed he can defeat the former vice president in the 2020 election.
Biden launched his presidential bid Thursday with a video that centered on the violence and racism displayed in Charlottesville, alluding to Mr. Trump’s response to it. Given the opportunity to again clarify those comments Friday, Mr. Trump told reporters, “I’ve answered that question and I was talking about people who went because they felt very strongly about the statue of Robert E. Lee.”
“Whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals,” Mr. Trump added.
The president also addressed Biden’s entrance into the race for the first time in person Friday. Mr. Trump called himself a “young” and “vibrant” man, but said he’s not sure the same is true of Biden, who he calls “Sleepy Joe.”
“I think we beat him easily,” Mr. Trump said of Biden.
In an interview with “The View” on Friday, Biden said it’s the first time anyone has referred to him as “sleepy.” It’s usually “hyper Joe,” he countered.
“If he looks young and vibrant compared to me, I should probably go home,” Biden joked about Mr. Trump. “The best way to judge me is to watch — see if I have the energy and the capacity.”
— Grace Segers