Trump prays for hurricane victims, criticizes Democrats

Trump acknowledged the hurricane at the top of his rally Wednesday night in Erie, offering his “thoughts and prayers” to those in the storm’s path

As Hurricane Michael pounded Florida, President Donald Trump took shelter at a campaign event in Pennsylvania, where he sought to boost Republicans before the midterms.

Trump acknowledged the hurricane at the top of his rally Wednesday night in Erie, offering his “thoughts and prayers” to those in the storm’s path and promising to “spare no effort” in the response. He promised to travel to Florida “very shortly.”

He added: “We will always pull through. … We will always be successful at what we do.”

Then Trump turned back to politics. With weeks to go before the critical November elections, Trump and his fellow Republicans are engaged in an all-out midterms blitz. They have been invigorated by the successful nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and are seeking to use the contentious moment to unify the GOP and stave off Democratic energy at the polls.

That Trump kept his appointment in Erie underscored the importance of this effort to Republicans. Earlier in the day, Trump received a hurricane briefing at the White House on the Category 4 storm. He told reporters he faced a “quagmire” about whether to attend the Pennsylvania rally because “thousands of people” were already lined up for the event.

He ultimately decided to attend, a move he criticized President Barack Obama for six years ago after Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast.

“Yesterday Obama campaigned with JayZ & Springsteen while Hurricane Sandy victims across NY & NJ are still decimated by Sandy. Wrong!” Trump tweeted on Nov. 6, 2012.

On Wednesday, Trump touted two Republican congressmen, Mike Kelly and Lou Barletta. Kelly is facing a challenge from Democrat Ron DiNicola, while Barletta is mounting an uphill campaign to unseat two-term Democratic Sen. Bob Casey. The president, who attended a fundraiser before the rally, also praised GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner.

Trump also celebrated Kavanaugh’s appointment amid Democratic opposition and sexual misconduct allegations against the nominee. Trump called it a “historic week,” saying, “What the radical Democrats did to Brett Kavanaugh and his beautiful family is a national disgrace.”

For weeks, Trump has been escalating his attacks on Democrats. He continued that effort Wednesday, claiming that Democrats want to “impose socialism and take over and destroy American health care.” He added: “Democrats want to abolish America’s borders and allow drugs and gangs to pour into our country.”

Trump also returned to one of his favourite themes — reliving his stunning 2016 victory.

“Was that the most exciting evening?” he said to cheers.

Trump also ticked through what he sees as his top achievements, including tax cuts and a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico. He talked about exiting the Iran nuclear deal and drew wild applause for mentioning his plans for a Space Force.

Trump attacked Casey for opposing Kavanaugh’s nomination, saying he had “joined the left-wing mob.” He also accused Casey, named for his politician father, for “banking on the name of his father.” Trump’s own father, Fred, was a successful real estate developer who set his son up in business. The New York Times recently reported that Donald Trump received at least $413 million from his father over the decades, much of that through dubious tax dodges, including outright fraud.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump published an op-ed in USA Today that attacked Democrats over “Medicare for All” health care proposals. In his op-ed, Trump said Democrats have moved away from centrism, claiming the “new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela.”

He added: “Government-run health care is just the beginning. Democrats are also pushing massive government control of education, private-sector businesses and other major sectors of the U.S. economy.”

Trump’s attack on Medicare for All omits any mention of improved benefits for seniors that Democrats promise.

Medicare for All means different things to different Democrats. The plan pushed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who challenged Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, would expand Medicare to cover almost everyone in the country, and current Medicare recipients would get improved benefits. Other Democratic plans would allow people to buy into a new government system modeled on Medicare, moving toward the goal of coverage for all while leaving private insurance in place.

Democrats, who think health care is a winning issue going into the midterms, also sought to focus voter attention Wednesday. In the Senate, Democrats unsuccessfully sought to scuttle Trump’s push for short-term health insurance plans, which are less expensive but provide skimpier coverage. While the vote failed, Democrats think the move will help them in November.

Catherine Lucey, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Castlegar water rates set to rise for commercial, industrial users; no change for single-family homes

Multi-family residences are also likely to see a price hike in 2019

Thousands donated to Castlegar health centre campaign

Money will go to purchasing new equipment

Climbing group launches fundraiser for Castlegar cliffs

TAWKROC wants to raise $60,000 to purchase the property from the owners

Wanted man captured by Trail RCMP

Ishmani Baker was arrested at a rural property on Columbia Gardens Road

Accident causes headaches for Castlegar commuters

Traffic backed up at intersection with Highway 3

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

Most Read