The President Prattles in Pittsburgh

If you know someone who voted for this man, ask them how they can defend any of this:

President Trump on Saturday again called for enacting the death penalty for drug dealers during a rally meant to bolster a struggling GOP candidate for a U.S. House seat here.

During the campaign event in this conservative western Pennsylvania district, the president also veered off into a list of other topics, including North Korea, his distaste for the news media and his own election victory 16 months ago…

“Do you think the drug dealers who kill thousands of people during their lifetime, do you think they care who’s on a blue-ribbon committee?” Trump asked. “The only way to solve the drug problem is through toughness. When you catch a drug dealer, you’ve got to put him away for a long time.”

It was not the first time Trump had suggested executing drug dealers. Earlier this month, he described it as a way to fight the opioid epidemic. And on Friday, The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration was considering policy changes to allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

But on Saturday his call for executing drug dealers got some of the most enthusiastic cheers of the night. As Trump spoke about policies on the issue in China and Singapore, dozens of people nodded their heads in agreement. “We love Trump,” one man yelled. A woman shouted: “Pass it!”

Trump was ostensibly here to inject some last-minute political capital behind Republican Rick Saccone, whose race against Democrat Conor Lamb could be a harbinger of the Republican Party’s fate in the midterms.

Trump also delivered a profane attack on the news media, calling NBC News anchor Chuck Todd a “sleeping son of a bitch” and deeming CNN “fake as hell,” as the enthusiastic crowd booed at the mention of journalists and chanted “CNN sucks!”

Is this actually what they wanted? They actually wanted these nonsensical rants? They actually wanted a wasteful military parade? Did they know what they wanted–besides “not Hillary,” of course?

Of course, if a Trump lackey like Saccone loses on Tuesday, one wonders if Saccone will acknowledge that his loss was connected to Trump giving his voters things they didn’t really want:

Trump wrapped up by delivering an appeal to vote for Saccone on behalf of the Trump agenda, saying: “We need Republicans in office.”

“Go out on Tuesday and vote like crazy,” he added. He claimed he’d won the district “by, like, 22 points”—though in reality it was only 20.

“The whole world, remember that, they’re all watching,” Trump concluded. “This is a very important race.”

National and local Republicans hope Trump’s visit will help stoke enthusiasm here in the final days ahead of Tuesday’s special election. The race has drawn millions in outside spending as the GOP tries to avoid a disaster in a race that should have been an easy win—and in which a loss would be widely read as a referendum on the president.

The visit was Trump’s second, after a January appearance with Saccone by his side. Vice President Mike Pence, Kellyanne Conway and Ivanka Trump have all made stops in southwestern Pennsylvania in the last month. Donald Trump Jr. is expected to headline a rally on Monday.

On Saturday, the president openly acknowledged that Saccone has had a “tough race,” adding, “look, it’s a crazy time out there.”

Trump attacked Saccone’s opponent, Democrat Conor Lamb, “Lamb the sham,” for “trying to act like a Republican,” but “as soon as he gets in, he’s not going to vote for us.”

“The president’s support is key to attaining victory on March 13,” Saccone said in a speech before the president’s arrival. “There’s no one I’d rather have in my corner than President Trump.”

Democrats in the district said they see Trump’s visit as proof that this race “is a referendum” on him, because Trump is “well aware with how well he did in this district,” said Richard Grubb, a 75-year-old Lamb volunteer…

Saccone, who’s called himself “Trump before Trump was Trump,” has lagged in fundraising behind Lamb, a former federal prosecutor and Marine veteran.

At last night’s rally, Trump also derided Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) as a “very low-IQ individual”; in yet another sad example of the mainstream media’s desperate attempts to normalize the 45th president, the New York Times referred to the remark as “an insult that to many carries racial undertones.” No, New York Times, it’s not “an insult that to many carries racial undertones.” It’s a straight-up racist remark from a straight-up racist President who represents a straight-up racist party–a party that could well suffer a profound embarrassment Tuesday night.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.