Trump Honors Pittsburgh Dead — and Knocks ‘Far-Left Media’ — at Florida Rally

Ivanka Trump is wind blown as she watches Marine One, carrying U.S. President Donald Trump, take off from the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Trump is attending a rally in Florida. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

November 1, 2018

By John T. Bennett

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump led off a midterms campaign rally in Florida on Wednesday by blaming the “far-left media” for exploiting the Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting to hurt him and Republicans as the elections near.

“They did everything in their power to … push people apart,” he said. “It was fake and it was make-believe. … The far-left media has spread lies and misinformation about the Trump administration.”

“They want to stoke resentment,” he said of the media.

Trump began his final midterms tour in Fort Myers, aiming to give a boost to Gov. Rick Scott as he tries to oust incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

He called Scott an “unbelievable talent” who always “calls up with incredible news,” lauding the Senate candidate for his response to several hurricanes in the state. He said a Sen. Scott would “keep the Florida (economic) boom in full swing.”

Trump also tied Nelson to “radical” congressional Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Charles E. Schumer. He also said Nelson is for “open borders,” a false claim he makes about every Democratic candidate.

Taking the presidential podium, Scott praised Trump for his hurricane response efforts, saying the chief executive pledges to “do whatever you want.”

The crowd responded with a chant: “Trump! Trump! Trump!”

Scott hammered Nelson for being in office so long and voting against the GOP tax law that Trump signed last December. He also hit the incumbent for, allegedly, helping add to the federal deficit. Nonpartisan experts say the Republican tax overhaul will spike the deficit.

Trump is also stumping for former GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis, who is trying to defeat Tallahassee Democratic Mayor Andrew Gillum in the Sunshine State’s governor’s race. On Monday morning, Trump called Gillum a “thief” in a tweet:

“In Florida there is a choice between a Harvard/Yale educated man named @RonDeSantisFL who has been a great Congressman and will be a great Governor — and a Dem who is a thief and who is Mayor of poorly run Tallahassee, said to be one of the most corrupt cities in the Country!”

Speaking to the Fort Myers crowd, DeSantis painted Gillum as a possible criminal, saying, “I’m the only guy who’s not under investigation by the FBI.” Gillum has said he is not the target of an FBI investigation into corruption in Tallahassee though he is under a state ethics probe into trips he has taken as mayor.

DeSantis also alleged that Gillum want to raise taxes by “40 percent.”

Recent polls of the gubernatorial contest give Gillum a small lead as campaigning enters its final days.

Trump told rally-goers that “Rick and Ron” would win next week. At one point, he said the midterms may not be as important as the 2016 election that put him in the White House — he called the “movement” that delivered him to the White House the “greatest” in American history. But Tuesday’s outcomes will determine whether the president’s envisioned domestic agenda is possible and whether House Democrats will gain investigative, and subpoena, powers to investigate his presidency.

The crowd responded by chanting “Build The Wall,” prompting Trump to say two Central American migrant caravans will be stopped before illegally stepping foot on American soil. He has made those approaching groups perhaps the defining issue for undecided voters — or ones who are unsure whether they will get to the polls.

Trump is focusing his final-days push on Midwestern and Mid-Southern states — but Florida is the exception as he will make two stop there in the race’s final six days. He will return for a Saturday evening rally in Pensacola, underscoring how badly Trump and GOP leaders want to win both races.

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©2018 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved

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