6 meals stalls from his speech, Indiana go to
President Donald Trump spoke to a packed crowd in Evansville Thursday night to announce his achievements and encourage Hoosiers to send Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun to DC in November to replace Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly.
Here are some of the takeaways from Trump’s Evansville speech on Thursday night.
Trump saw security as the focus of the elections
During much of Trump’s speech, he highlighted the Democrats’ attempts to combat him on immigration.
“At the center of these elections is the very important issue of border security,” said Trump. “We’ve started the wall in San Diego now … it’s like pulling teeth to get the money from the Democrats.”
But his attempt to separate Donnelly from Braun on the matter might not work: Donnelly broke off with fellow Democrats on marginal funding and said he was okay with approving the remaining funds for construction.
Just last week, Donnelly’s campaign published an ad devoted solely to securing borders.
“And Trump’s border wall?” asks a narrator in the ad. “Joe voted in favor three times.”
More:From pomp to protests, Trump’s visit brought the circus to Evansville
More:Donnelly, Braun, bond with Trump ahead of the President’s Evansville rally
Two days before Trump’s visit, Donnelly’s camp posted another ad showing Donnelly’s ties to Trump. In the ad, a picture of Donnelly shaking Trump’s hands flashes across the screen with the words, “Joe Donnelly partnering with Trump to build a wall and protect our borders.”
Trump gave the microphone to Braun
Trump passed the microphone on to Braun and gave him the opportunity to speak Thursday night, just like he did in Elkhart.
Braun again emphasized his respect for Trump and stuck to his message, which emphasized his and Trump’s similarities.
“There was no other person on this stage who could beat Hillary Clinton except this man,” Braun said during his time on the stage.
But he also toasted Donnelly – from his message in Elkhart in May, where he only mentioned Donnelly once in passing.
Braun listed several of Donnelly’s voices against Trump’s policies – such as Trump’s tax plan – and ended his speech by chanting “Joe must go.”
Donnelly still didn’t criticize Trump
Trump spent most of the night dissecting Donnelly and calling him the “least effective Democrat”.
Even so, Donnelly stopped praising Trump afterward.
“We’re always happy to have President Trump in Indiana, but Hoosiers still wants a senator who always puts them first before a politician or political party,” Donnelly said in a statement. “They know I was that to them, and I will stay that way next year as a senator.”
Donnelly’s favorite chorus is “Trump voters were Donnelly voters first.”
Donnelly was in DC for Senator John McCain’s memorial and said he couldn’t see Trump’s speech.
One protester was kicked out
At the beginning of Trump’s speech, the crowd began chanting, “Trump, Trump, Trump,” the sign used by supporters to shout protesters in the crowd.
Security took a woman from standing in front of the stage and made Trump stop speaking for a moment.
“Where the hell did she come from?” Asked Trump.
“And now tomorrow – that is a person. And now you will read headlines tomorrow: ‘Trump had protesters everywhere.’ One person. One person. “
No one was removed during Trump’s Elkhart speech in May.
Outside the rally, around 1,000 people gathered to protest Trump’s visit. Two people were arrested.
Trump’s volunteer blocked a photographer
When the security service escorted the demonstrator, photographers tried to take photos of the woman. A Trump volunteer, who was the media point of contact prior to the rally, put his hand right in front of the camera lens of a photographer trying to take a photo and sparked an outcry on social media after the rally.
Kevin Lamarque, the Reuters photographer whose exposure was blocked, said almost immediately afterwards that the photographers had been led out of the buffer area.
“They didn’t want us to take a clear picture of the protest,” Lamarque said, adding that they usually remove them from the buffer about 15 minutes after Trump’s speech started anyway, but the timing during that rally was wrong.
The previous Friday, Olivier Knox, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, issued a statement saying he had contacted the White House and the Trump campaign.
“The Trump campaign assures me that these were the actions of an inexperienced volunteer who understands that he acted in error,” the statement said. “The campaign took him off the streets and promises it won’t happen again.”
Lamarque said he privately confronted volunteer Nick Barbknecht later that night, who sincerely apologized. Nick Barbknecht is married to McKenzie Barbknecht, a press assistant in Vice President Mike Pence’s office.
Later, a member of Trump’s press team apologized again to Air Force One, saying the incident should not have happened.
“Yes, it should never have happened, but is that the worst thing that happens to me as a photographer? Certainly not,” said Lamarque. “But at the end of the day I think it’s probably not a bad thing that it happened. It was addressed quickly and properly, highlighting a bigger issue of how the press can sometimes be handled.”
Regardless of the intent, the incident matched the tone of Trump’s speech as he criticized the media all night and shouted at the audience for “false news”.
He once called the media “our greatest obstacle and (Democrats) greatest ally” and later dishonest.
“I went to better schools, I did everything better,” said Trump. “And by the way, by the way, are you ready for this? And I’m president, and you’re not.”
Trust in the media has sunk to an all-time low since Trump’s presidential campaign.
According to a June Gallop poll, Americans believe that 44 percent of the information in traditional news outlets is inaccurate – or fake news, as Trump likes to put it.
However, according to the Poynter Media Trust’s 2018 survey, media trust is growing. The report found that 54 percent of Americans have “high” or “reasonable” trust in the media, up from 32 percent in 2016
Trump announced tariffs, and supporters were on board
Trump’s tariff strategy has earned criticism from some Indiana Republicans.
However, on Thursday he bragged about his plan and the impact it is already having on the nation.
This week Trump announced a trade deal with Mexico, and one with Canada could be on the way. But the tariffs are far from over. Trump plans to hold another collective bargaining round for China as early as next week.
Even so, Trump praised the impact of the tariffs on the steel industry, and proponents were largely encouraged after the speech.
“It makes them come to the table and do it more in our favor than theirs, and I think that’s a good idea,” said Dennis Nunley, a supporter for Jasper. “We have the largest economy in the world. They need us more than we need them.”
Another supporter, Groce Marshall, said, “That should have happened years ago.”
Braun has maintained its support for Trump’s tariffs so far, which could affect his campaign. Earlier this week, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce decided not to endorse either Donnelly or Braun, citing some disagreements with both candidates over politics.
The chamber didn’t state which guidelines were the deal breaker for Braun, but the chamber has come out against Trump’s tariffs, while Braun said he trusted Trump’s approach.
Donnelly’s team saw the lack of approval as a victory as the chamber routinely endorses Republican Senate candidates.
Call IndyStar reporter Kaitlin Lange at 317-432-9270. Follow her on Twitter: @kaitlin_lange.