Trump Ends Rally Blitz With Wistful Look Back at Unlikely Ascent
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s rallies are barn-burner, headline events staged to throngs of loyalists by a natural showman. Late Monday, he added hints of a curtain call.
The president held five rallies across four states Monday as he looked to clinch a second poll-defying win. His final rally, which ended hours before most polls were to open, was in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a symbolic choice to return to the place where he’d wrapped up his 2016 campaign.
Monday’s campaign-capping rallies carried many of the same pointed attacks and defiant predictions, including a “tremendous victory” in Tuesday’s election. But notes of reflection crept into his final events, which he interrupted to thank his family and supporters, and reflected on what he’d given up.
“I had a nice life, I had the greatest life,” he said in Grand Rapids. “But you know what, I’m so happy -- this was the greatest decision I ever made, because we have done so much good together.”
Monday’s rallies presaged either a surprise forthcoming victory or the end of a campaign in which Trump was unable to cut down Joe Biden’s lead or shift the focus from the coronavirus pandemic, which polls show Americans believe he has mismanaged.
He traveled with an unusually large entourage at his final rally, including Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence; his four adult children, some of their partners, and longtime members of his circle like Reince Priebus, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie. In Wisconsin, several spoke, including his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, her husband, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and Lara Trump, the wife of Trump’s son Eric.
Later, at the final rally, the president thanked his children.
“Words cannot express how proud you make me every single day. No matter what happens tomorrow, I’m very proud of you all,” he said, before adding with a grin: “but if we don’t win, I’ll never speak to them again.”
Trump has waxed nostalgic throughout his run of rallies since his recovery from the coronavirus. He routinely regales crowds with stories about the improbable 2016 win, while only rarely detailing what he’d actually do in a second term.
He kept making appeals to voters whose support has diminished, including older people and women. “Love me, women of the suburbs,” he said at one rally earlier Monday. “Women of the suburbs -- please,” he added at another.
Trump has pledged a legal battle over any delay in counting an unprecedented number of mailed ballots, particularly in Pennsylvania. He predicted a “red wave” turnout on Tuesday, to again defy polls and eke out another Electoral College victory. Still, between the bombastic predictions and complaints of mistreatment by Democrats and courts and the media, Trump has wondered aloud what otherwise might have been.
“We’re going to win anyway,” he said Monday in North Carolina, at his first rally of the day. “I wonder what it would’ve been. I wonder what it would’ve been if all of the nonsense wasn’t brought up.”
He’s also regularly mixed in disbelief that he could be losing to Biden, whose acuity is a target of regular Trump attacks. The rallies have featured a video montage of Biden flubs. “Can he really win? Are we serious about this? What the hell is going on?” Trump asked in Wisconsin, where he said he was only showing a sampling of embarrassing Biden clips before acknowledging that voters may be focusing more on him.
“Look, this is not what our country needs,” he said after the Biden montage ended. “This isn’t, this isn’t about -- yeah, it is about me, I guess, when you think about it.”
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