President Trump on Wednesday told a large campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota, that he defeated Joe Biden during the first presidential debate.
“Joe Biden is too weak to lead this country. You know Biden lost badly when his supporters are saying he should cancel the rest of the debates,” Trump said about Tuesday night’s battle.
The acrimonious debate in Cleveland was ridden with insults and interruptions and Trump told the crowd moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News was overly deferential to Biden.
“I was debating two people last night,” Trump said at the rally, again knocking Wallace, who largely failed to control bitter exchanges between Trump and the Democratic candidate.
But Trump boasted of the debate’s 73 million TV viewers and ran through what he said were poor moments for Biden.
“Liberal media is upset that I took the fight to Biden and exposed his very dangerous agenda,” Trump said. “Arson is OK, but challenging Sleepy Joe is totally off limits.”
Trump taunted: “Now I understand he’s canceling the debates, let’s see what happens. I think that’s not going to be a good move.”
In Trump’s telling, his hectoring of Biden revealed rifts among Democrats, including over the Green New Deal, which Biden said “is not my plan.”
“How about the Green New Deal? He disavowed it,” Trump crowed.
“Our opponents stand with rioters. I stand with the heroes of law enforcement,” Trump said, recalling his failed attempt to force Biden to say the words “law enforcement” during the debate.
“Last night I said … ‘Sleepy Joe, say law enforcement.’ He goes, ‘No, I’d rather not,’” Trump said.
Trump noted that Biden also refused to say whether he supports a push among some Democrats to “pack” the Supreme Court with more than nine justices if Trump succeeds in replacing liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg with his nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
“Joe Biden also refused to answer questions about packing the Supreme Court — the Supreme Court. I mean, how good is Amy?” Trump said. “You know, she ought to run for president instead of Joe. He was like last place in his class.”
Trump echoed his inquiries about Biden’s son Hunter’s business dealings in China and Ukraine, and an alleged $3.5 million payment from the wife of Moscow’s former mayor.
“As you all saw, Biden also refused to explain why his son Hunter was paid $3.5 million … by the wife of the former mayor of Moscow … And took out $1.5 billion from China he manages, makes millions of dollars a year, right? And he got the $183,000 a month [in Ukraine].”
Trump said at the rally, “This is a matter of national security and economic security. The Bidens got rich while American workers got robbed.”
Joe Biden didn’t refute in detail allegations about his son, but repeatedly said Trump’s assertions were “not true.”
The post-debate spin among Democrats was notably different.
Biden, by contrast, said Wednesday that Trump’s debate performance was a “national embarrassment.” On the debate stage, the former vice president attacked Trump, calling him a “clown” and told him to “shut up, man!”
The Duluth rally is Trump’s third in Minnesota since August as he seeks to flip the historically Democratic state. A Republican presidential candidate last won Minnesota in 1972, though Trump was just 1.5 percentage short of Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Trump repeated his claim that Biden “will turn Minnesota into a refugee camp” and slammed Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) over a disputed Project Veritas allegation linking her to alleged ballot harvesting plot. “I hope your US attorney is involved. … I’ve been reading these reports for two years about how corrupt and crooked she is,” he said.
“And you know what, AOC also. It’s time. It’s time. You take a look at what they did, the corruption, the disgusting corruption.”
Trump also noted the Wednesday testimony of former FBI Director James Comey and all-but called for charges against “crooks” who he said tried “for a coup” against his presidency.
“We got plenty of information on these crooks. .. and it’s about time that something happens,” Trump said.
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