President Trump appeared at a rally in Evansville, Indiana, Thursday to support Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun. Braun is facing Sen. Joe Donnelly, one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate, in November.
Mr. Trump rallied in Indiana the day after Braun won the Republican primary for Senate in May, calling Donnelly "Sleepin' Joe" and a "swamp person."
The president tweeted his support of Braun Thursday morning. Mr. Trump wrote: "Will be going to Evansville, Indiana, tonight for a big crowd rally with Mike Braun, a very successful businessman who is campaigning to be Indiana's next U.S. Senator. He is strong on Crime & Borders, the 2nd Amendment, and loves our Military & Vets. Will be a big night!"
Trump sticks to familiar talking points in rally
The rally Thursday evening followed the blueprint for Mr. Trump's campaign speeches in the 2018 election cycle, briefly discussing the merits of whichever candidate he is supporting while spending most of the speech touting his record as president.
Mr. Trump touched upon common talking points during the rally, such as immigration, trade, and the economy. Although he praised veterans, he did not mention McCain. Mr. Trump also did not specifically refer to the Russia investigation as a "witch hunt." However, he did make several references to his former presidential opponent, "Crooked" Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Trump ended his rally after speaking for around 75 minutes. The Rolling Stones song "You Can't Always Get What You Want" played at the end of his speech. He commonly uses that speech to end public appearances.
Trump criticizes social media for "censorship" of conservative voices
The president has recently criticized websites such as Google, Facebook and Twitter for supposedly silencing conservative voices. Mr. Trump became vocal about this issue after several sites removed pages by Alex Jones, a controversial right-wing conspiracy theorist.
Mr. Trump also said earlier this week that Google was filtering search results about him to only show negative news.
"There's a thing called free speech rights," Mr. Trump said at the rally. "I've made it clear that we as a country cannot tolerate political censorship, blacklisting, and rigged search results."
"We will not let large corporations silence conservative voices," Mr. Trump said.
Trump brings up favorite rally topics
After a brief tangent telling the story of how he was endorsed by famous Hoosiers coach Bobby Knight, Mr. Trump boasted about the African-American unemployment rate hitting its lowest point during his presidency. He also went on a familiar riff about how he does not understand why his opponents are called "the elite."
"I went to better schools, I went to better everything," Mr. Trump said about "the elite." "And by the way - are you ready for this? I'm president, and they're not."
Mr. Trump also touted low unemployment numbers for youth and former prisoners. He also joked about the low unemployment rate for women.
"Sorry women, I let you down again. Women's unemployment rate recently reached only the lowest rate in 65 years," Mr. Trump said.
Trump hits familiar beats on immigration
Mr. Trump criticized the Democratic Party for opposing a border wall between Mexico and the United States, and supporting "open borders." He also mocked the increasingly popular progressive issue of abolishing U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
Mr. Trump said that ICE was instrumental for capturing members of the gang MS-13.
"They want to slice people up! Young girls, walking home from school 16 years old. They died," Mr. Trump said about MS-13 gang members, saying that he had spoken with the parents of these girls, without naming any names. "And then Nancy Pelosi gets upset because I called them animals."
Mr. Trump had previously invoked the example of Mollie Tibbetts, a young woman who was killed by an immigrant this month. Tilletts' family had called for politicians to stop mentioning her death when discussing immigration.
"We want to abolish MS-13, they want to abolish ICE," the president said about Democrats.
"A vote for Democrats in America is a vote to erase our borders," Mr. Trump said. "A vote for Republicans is a vote to support our strong heroes of ICE."
Trump rails against the Justice Department
Mr. Trump criticized his own Justice Department because of the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
"The Justice Department and our FBI have to start doing their job and doing it right and doing it now," the president said. "People are angry. What's happening is a disgrace. And at some point I wanted to stay out but at some point if it doesn't straighten out."
Mr. Trump tweeted criticism about the Russia investigation and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, several times in recent days.
Trump goes after Donnelly
Mr. Trump targeted Donnelly, branding him with the nickname "Sleepy Joe."
"A vote for Mike's opponent, Sleepy Joe, is a vote for Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and who else - Maxine Waters," Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Trump pulled out a printed article from the Indianapolis Star which described a poll where Donnelly was described as the least effective Democrat in the Senate. He read directly from the article.
"If that's what you want representing Indiana, you can have it," Mr. Trump said, dropping the printed out article.
Mr. Trump mentioned that Donnelly voted against repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act. He did not mention Sen. John McCain, whom Mr. Trump often brought up in previous speeches for voting against the repeal and replace bill. McCain died on Saturday.
Braun joins Trump on the stage
When Braun joined Trump on stage, he praised Mr. Trump, appealing to a Republican base which approves very strongly of the president.
"There was not one person on that stage that could have beaten Hillary Clinton other than this man here," Braun said about the president, to loud cheers. The crowd started chanting "lock her up."
Braun used his praise of Mr. Trump to pivot to why he should be elected, saying that the president needed an ally in Washington. He briefly led the crowd in chanting "Joe's got to go," referring to Donnelly, before ceding the stage to Mr. Trump again.
Rally interrupted by protesters
Shortly after the rally began, Mr. Trump was interrupted by a protester. Audience members cheered to overpower the shouts from demonstrator. Mr. Trump walked away from the podium while she protested, motioning for her to be escorted out.
"Where the hell did she come from?" Mr. Trump said about the woman protesting. "And now tomorrow you're going to read headlines, 'Trump had protesters all over the place.' One person!"
A Trump staffer blocked a photographer from taking a photograph of the protester.
Rally in Indiana comes amid McCain funeral preparations
Mr. Trump had a contentious relationship with McCain, who died on Saturday. The relationship between the two men soured after Mr. Trump said in 2015 that McCain was not a war hero because he was captured and held as a prisoner of war for five years during the Vietnam War. Since Mr. Trump took office, McCain had been a vocal opponent of the president, particularly on issues of foreign policy.
McCain also voted against the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in July 2017. Mr. Trump repeatedly brought up McCain's vote against the repeal at rallies, although he did not on Thursday.
After McCain's death, the president was briefly embroiled in controversy while the White House lowered its flag to half-staff, then had it raised fully, and then had it lowered again.
McCain's funeral service in Arizona was on Thursday, featuring a eulogy from former Vice President Joe Biden.
Mr. Trump was very pointedly not invited to either of McCain's funeral services, although former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama will be delivering eulogies at his funeral in Washington on Saturday. McCain's casket arrived at Joint Base Andrews Thursday evening.
In an interview with Bloomberg News on Thursday, Trump said that he and McCain had many disagreements.
"I disagreed with many of the things that I assume he believed in. With that being said, I respect his service to the country," Mr. Trump said.
This is the first rally Mr. Trump is holding since McCain's death.
Trump arrives in Evansville
Mr. Trump arrived at Evansville Regional Airport at around 5:30 p.m. He was greeted at the airport by Braun and his wife, Maureen, as well as supporter Steve Chancellor and his wife, Terri.
Trump departs the White House
Mr. Trump left the White House at around 4:30 p.m., in the company of staffers including Johnny DeStefano and Stephen Miller. He is traveling to Indiana via Marine One.
The president appeared to sporting a new hat as he crossed the White House lawn to Marine One, which reads, "Make Our Farmers Great Again."
The Department of Agriculture offered $12 billion in aid to farmers to ease the impact of the Trump administration's tariffs on agriculture. Earlier this week, the administration promised to pay farmers $4.7 billion to offset losses from the tariffs.
Trump begins Thursday by attacking media
Before heading to Evansville Thursday afternoon, Mr. Trump sent multiple morning tweets criticizing CNN, NBC, and the media at large.
"The hatred and extreme bias of me by @CNN has clouded their thinking and made them unable to function," Mr. Trump tweeted, adding that CNN president Jeff Zucker should be fired. In another tweet, he criticized NBC News, claiming that the network "fudged" his interview with Lester Holt last year. In that unedited interview, Mr. Trump said that he fired FBI Director James Comey because of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
"I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn't matter to them, they only have their hatred & agenda," Mr. Trump said in a third tweet Thursday morning. "This includes fake books, which come out about me all the time, always anonymous sources, and are pure fiction. Enemy of the People!"
The president also continued to criticize the ongoing special counsel investigation.