LAKE CHARLES, La. - On the eve of Louisiana´s gubernatorial primary, President Donald Trump laid in on thick Friday night urging Pelican State voters to vote Republican on the weekend and not to fall for ¨this BS impeachment.¨
¨This is one of the great con jobs in U.S. history,¨ Mr. Trump declared, in a speech that blamed the Democrats and media for pushing a fake narrative to undermine his presidency and fool the public.
¨They´ve been trying to stop us for more than three years with a lot of crap,¨ Mr. Trump said. ¨They have conspired to sabotage our incredible movement.¨
While Mr. Trump also touted his ¨new, Phase I deal¨ on trade with China, claiming China would buy between $40 and $50 billion in U.S. agricultural products, most of his speech was dedicated to ripping apart Democratic claims he should be impeached and urging Republicans to vote Saturday.
¨They are scammers and con artists, the Democrats and the media,¨ Mr. Trump said. ¨They´re partners. That´s the real collusion.¨
On Saturday, Louisiana voters participate in a so-called ¨jungle primary” in which incumbent Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards seeks a second term against two chief Republican challengers, Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone and U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham.
If none of the candidates wins 50 percent plus 1 of the vote Saturday, the top two vote getters will face each other in a November runoff.
The Republican challengers joined Mr. Trump on stage briefly at the end of his stump speech.
¨Tomorrow I need to you to send the radical Democratic establishment a message and send a great Republican to the governor´s mansion,¨ Mr. Trump said.
For much of the campaign, Mr. Edwards had refrained from criticism of Mr. Trump, although his tone has changed as the president has thrown his support more and more explicitly behind the governor´s Republican opponents, Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone and Republican Rep. Ralph Abraham.
¨Behind your back he doesn´t like you,¨ Mr. Trump said he is regularly informed of Mr. Edwards, who he noted, ¨was a super delegate for Crooked Hillary,¨ in the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton.
In non-farm jobs Louisiana has actually seen a slight decline recently despite overall strong economic performances in the U.S., a rare poor showing that Mr. Trump said is attributable in part to Mr. Edwards´ close relationship with trial lawyers who are targeting the oil and gas industry for its alleged part in destroying the Louisiana coast.
¨Killing your jobs and attacking your industry,¨ he described Mr. Edwards´ economic plans. ¨Ralph Abraham and Eddie are pro- your economy.¨
Mr. Trump flew to Louisiana with a Little League all-star team from outside New Orleans that won the Little League World Series last summer, and his visit to Lake Charles was not marred by any of the violent displays that accompanied his Minnesota rally on Thursday night.
¨You won´t believe it but I´m going to this incredible place, Louisiana, tonight,¨ Mr. Trump joked as he introduced the Little League players and described the Air Force One invitation he extended to them in the White House on Friday afternoon.
The president referred repeatedly to his August phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart, which Democrats have characterized as an improper attempt to compel a foreign entity to investigate his political opponent, and compared it to the actions of former vice president Joe Biden´s son, Hunter.
Hunter Biden, despite no experience in the field, landed lucrative business deals with Ukrainian and Chinese interests after his father visited those countries, facts Mr. Trump argued are far more damning than the transcript he has released of his conversation with the Ukrainian president, Volodymer Zelentsky.
¨This rage-filled Democratic Party has gone completely insane,¨ Mr. Trump said.
• James Varney can be reached at email@example.com.
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