Wed, Nov 07, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Trump makes last midterm push

FEAR ABOUNDS:The US president warned supporters of illegal voting and a radicalized ‘mob’ if the Democrats won, while seeking to distance himself from a Republican loss

AP, CAPE GIRARDEAU, Missouri

US President Donald Trump, his shadow hanging over midterm elections that would determine the future of his administration, used his final pitch on Monday to ask voters to help preserve “fragile” Republican victories that could be erased by Democratic gains in the US Congress.

With the monthslong fight serving as a testing ground for his nationalist appeals and the strength of the coalition that powered him to the White House two years ago, Trump closed out a campaign season that has been defined by his racially charged rhetoric, hard-line immigration moves and scattershot policy proposals.

Acknowledging the stakes in the closing days of campaigning, Trump told voters that everything was on the line.

“It’s all fragile. Everything I told you about, it can be undone and changed by the Democrats if they get in,” Trump told supporters on a telephone “town hall” organized by his re-election campaign. “You see how they’ve behaved. You see what’s happening with them. They’ve really become radicalized.”

In an election-eve interview, Trump struck a gentler note with media conglomerate Sinclair Broadcasting, saying he regretted some of his caustic campaign rhetoric.

“I would like to have a much softer tone. I feel to a certain extent I have no choice, but maybe I do,” Trump said.

There was little of that on display as Trump spent his final hours on the trail Monday in Ohio, Indiana and Missouri, where he harshened his rhetoric on illegal immigration and lobbed attacks at Democrats.

“The contrast in this election could not be more clear. Democrats produce mobs,” Trump said at his final rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. “That’s what’s happened. Republicans produce jobs.”

In a tweet, he said that law enforcement was “strongly notified to watch closely for any ILLEGAL VOTING which may take place in Tuesday’s Election (or Early Voting).”

Trump has falsely claimed that millions of illegal votes were cast in 2016, which he said deprived him of a victory in the popular vote, and has stoked concerns, without providing evidence, of rampant fraudulent voting.

“I do eventually want to unite, but I’m driving them crazy,” he said.

He has also sought to distance himself from any potential blame if Republicans lose control of the US House of Representatives, saying: “My primary focus has been on the Senate.”

Whatever the outcome, Trump made clear he knew his political future was on the line.

“In a sense, I am on the ticket,” he told a raucous crowd in Cleveland, Ohio.

He told supporters on the telephone town hall to get out and vote because “the press is very much considering it a referendum on me and us as a movement.”

Republicans are increasingly confident they will retain control of the Senate, but they face Democratic headwinds in the House.

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