Trump claims ‘prices haven’t gone up’ due to China tariffs in 2020 pitch to New Hampshire voters
(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump kicked off his campaign rally in New Hampshire by defending his administration's escalating trade war with China and taking familiar jabs as his potential 2020 Democratic opponents.
The president ran down a list of candidates including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke and former Vice President Joe Biden, who he seemed to save most of his venom for.
“What about a sleepy Joe Biden rally? Right? Boy, he’s made some beauties,” the president said. "I sort of hope it’s him.”
“I don't mind any of them. You got Pocahontas is rising. You got Kamala, Kamala is falling. You got Beto. Beto is like, gone,” Trump added.
The president, who delayed additional tariffs on certain Chinese goods this week stated China was “eating the tariffs” and pushed claims that "prices haven’t gone up." But economists insist the China trade war has hit both sides as the tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports are passed on to American business and, through price increases, to U.S. consumers
He applauded farmers, who have been caught in the crossfire of the escalating trade war as China has asked its imports to halt agriculture purchases.
“I would have been great our great Farmers have been so incredible because they've been targeted by China,” the president said.
The president's latest "Keep America Great" rally at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, marks what the Trump campaign said will be its first big step in ensuring what it couldn't do in 2016: Flip the Granite State red.
Losing New Hampshire in 2016 has appeared to be a sore spot for the president, but the reelection team said it's confident he will carry the state in 2020 despite potential indicators otherwise.
"New Hampshire is absolutely part of our winning strategy," Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign communications director, told ABC News.
The campaign also hopes to flip New Mexico, Nevada, Minnesota and Oregon.
And the president's New Hampshire loss won't be the only 2016 relic hovering over the rally on Thursday: Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has said he's "seriously considering" a 2020 Senate run in the Granite State. And Lewandowski is set to travel on Air Force One Thursday for the rally, with rumors swirling about a possible announcement.
The president will make his case to voters in New Hampshire, a state with a serious independent streak, on the heels of ramping up divisive rhetoric and as critics and 2020 Democratic candidates have blamed that rhetoric for inspiring violence against minorities, including the recent massacre in El Paso, Texas.
And while the president lost New Hampshire by fewer than 3,000 votes, in 2020 it could be a taller task as Democrats have flipped the state's House and Senate since 2016.
The president's support remains underwater but steady in New Hampshire, with a 53% disapproval rating, a 42% approval rating contrasted and 5% unsure, according to a recent University of New Hampshire poll.
Trump's campaign said the president is banking on appealing to voters in New Hampshire by pushing for more manufacturing jobs and by touting steps he's taken toward battling the opioid epidemic, in addition to the economy.
"We are working to retain the supporters and voters that he had in 2016, and bring in new ones," Murtaugh said.
Just two weeks after winning in 2016 but losing New Hampshire, Trump tweeted that there was "serious voter fraud" there.
After taking office, the president created a short-lived Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity that found no evidence of widespread voter fraud, according to a former member of the Trump administration's now-disbanded commission.
The president's campaign declined to comment to ABC News when asked whether Trump still believes he lost the state because of voter fraud.
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