President Trump's Nashville rally Tuesday was created to bolster Republican Marsha Blackburn's U.S. Senate bid, but it was also a place to be seen for the four major Republican candidates running in the Tennessee governor's race.
"He's an absolute total tool of Chuck Schumer and of course the MS-13 lover, Nancy Pelosi", Trump said.
"What was the name?" the president prodded the crowd, who yelled back "Animals!"
"They're not human beings".
Blackburn, a U.S. Congressman from Brentwood, began the Williamson County Young Republicans in the 1990s, before chairing the county Republican party.
The wall was a favourite campaign theme of Trump's and has been a longstanding bone of contention with Mexico. "I think it's a great issue, not a bad issue".
Yet the laughter underscores a brutal truth inside the White House: the President is already prioritizing his own re-election bid more than two years away.
He called Democrats "lousy on policy", playing on his supporters' fears by labeling that party as in favor of "open borders".
It's a campaign tactic that GOP gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie tried in last year's Virginia elections - and lost handily.
President Trump accused democrats of being soft on illegal immigration and with the violent MS-13 gang.
"I don't want to cause a problem - I don't want to cause it - but in the end, in the end, Mexico's going to pay for the wall", Trump said.
Steel and aluminum tariffs to apply to EU, Mexico, Canada
Steel was up more than three per cent to $37.47 USA on the NYSE, while Nucor was ahead by nearly one per cent at $64.70 US. 'Unilateral responses and threats over trade war will solve nothing of the serious imbalances in world trade.
Mexico has tirelessly objected to the notion that it would pay for the wall - for which Trump has sought billions from Congress - and Trump's talk on the matter has strained relations between the two countries.
"President @realDonaldTrump: NO. Mexico will NEVER pay for a wall".
The Tennessee race has major implications for control of the Senate, where Republicans have a 51 to 49 majority and can afford a net loss of just one seat in November's midterm elections.
"This is the best president we've had in my lifetime since Reagan", said Trump supporter Bonnie Burchett.
The GOP now holds a thin 51-49 Senate majority over Democrats, a margin that has approved many pro-life nominees yet proven largely insufficient to enact pro-life legislation, thanks to a combination of liberal Republicans and rules requiring a supermajority to pass ordinary bills. "If you want your communities to be safe, if you want your schools to be safe, if you want your country to be safe, then you have to go out and get the Democrats the hell out of office".
Trump added that Bredesen had donated to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2016, saying, "Phil Bredesen supported her and he supported her ideas".
During more than an hour of campaign-like rhetoric, the magnate gave free rein to his imagination and transformed the facts in front of an audience eager for a parallel reality. Trump remains popular in Tennessee, which hasn't elected a Democratic senator since 1990, and Blackburn remains optimistic the pattern will hold this fall.
"So Philbert was recruited by Schumer to run for the Senate", Trump continued, referring to Bredesen as "Philbert".
Blackburn has always been a vocal Trump backer, and in brief remarks to the crowd she promised she'd be a stalwart ally for the president if elected.
"Governor Bredesen has made it clear that if President Trump proposes something that's good for Tennessee, then he'll support it". Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., among other dignitaries. When Trump introduced Corker at the rally, he was met with audible boos from the audience.
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