President Trump addressed supporters at a Make America Great Again rally in Las Vegas on Thursday. His campaign-style event came after he canceled a series of rallies last week in the wake of impacts from Hurricane Florence.
Mr. Trump addressed supporters amid ongoing concern over his pick to fill a vacancy on the the United States Supreme Court. The president has spent much of the week defending Judge Brett Kavanaugh as he faces allegations of sexual misconduct stemming from his time as a high school student in the early 1980's. He told reporters on Wednesday that Kavanaugh was an "extraordinary man" with an "unblemished record."
The rally also gave Mr. Trump a chance to stump for Nevada Republican Dean Heller, who faces a midterm challenge for the U.S. Senate seat by Democratic Congresswoman Jacky Rosen. CBS News currently rates that race as a toss up.
Follow along with the rally as it happened:
Trump hits the road once again
According to a count by CBS News' Mark Knoller, Thursday night's rally marked his 23rd since taking office. Most recently, Mr. Trump campaigned for Republican candidates in North and South Dakota earlier this month.
Trump confident despite Heller's vulnerability as candidate
While Heller is considered one of the more vulnerable Senate Republicans up for re-election in the 2018 midterm elections, Mr. Trump appeared confident about Republicans' chances in an interview with Hill.TV on Tuesday, saying, "We're gonna do much better than anyone thinks because the economy is so good, and people do like the job I'm doing."
Day before rally, Heller refers to Kavanaugh controversy as "hiccup"
The day before President Trump arrived in Nevada, Republican Dean Heller said he was confident Kavanaugh would be confirmed to the United States Supreme Court despite the "hiccup" of allegations against him, according to the Nevada Independent.
Heller reportedly made the comments during a VIP conference call organized by the Nevada Republican party in advance of the president's Thursday visit.
"I'm really grateful for the White House, for the effort of President Trump and what he has done, and the excitement that we have," Heller said. "We got a little hiccup here with the Kavanaugh nomination, we'll get through this and we'll get off to the races," he added, according to the Independent.
Rosen told CBS News' Ed O'Keefe on Thursday that Heller's comments were "disrespectful."
"He not just said it was a hiccup, but after this hiccup we'd go back to business as usual. It's disrespectful to anyone who comes forward as a victim," Rosen said.
Controversial speaker to open Trump rally
Wayne Allyn Root, a conservative radio host and conspiracy theorist, was the opening speaker at the rally tonight. Root said on Twitter that he had been personally asked by Mr. Trump to speak at the event.
"Big day today. I'm opening speaker 4 President of United States. President Trump mega rally at Las Vegas Convention Center to elect Nevada GOP ticket. @realDonaldTrump personally requested Wayne Root as opening speaker to welcome crowd. Thank u Mr. President. See u all tonight!" Root tweeted on Thursday.
Root is the author of a 2015 book titled "Angry White Male: How the Donald Trump Phenomenon Is Changing America," which had a forward by controversial Trump associate Roger Stone.
He is known for promoting right-wing conspiracy theories. Root, who attended Columbia University while former President Barack Obama was also studying there, falsely claimed that Obama did not actually attend the school. More recently, Root falsely said on Twitter that the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas which killed 58 people was an act of Muslim terrorism.
Trump speaks to Sean Hannity
Mr. was interviewed by Sean Hannity, who hosted his Fox News show from the arena in Las Vegas this evening. The interview began after 10 p.m. ET, when the rally was supposed to start.
"To see what's going on is very, very sad," Mr. Trump said about the allegations against Kavanaugh. "You say, why didn't someone call the FBI 36 years ago?"
The interview was like a shortened version of Mr. Trump's typical stump speech, including comments praising the economy and railing against what he called "bad" trade deals such as NAFTA.
Mr. Trump also discussed the special counsel investigation, which he called a "witch hunt," saying it was very "bad for the country."
He encouraged Republican voters to turn out in November, even though he isn't on the ballot.
"You've got to go out and vote. We need more Republicans," Mr. Trump said.
Trump takes the stage
Mr. Trump began speaking shortly after 10:20 p.m. ET.
Trump praises Heller, acknowledging rocky relationship
Mr. Trump praised Heller, acknowledging that they've had a rocky relationship. Heller was a vocal critic of Mr. Trump before the election. At one point in 2017, the president threatened to support a primary challenger against Heller.
"We started out -- we weren't friends -- I didn't like him, he didn't like me," Mr. Trump said. The two have been closer since Mr. Trump endorsed Heller over his primary challenger, Danny Tarkanian, earlier this year. "The fact is, he has been a tremendous supporter ever since I've won the election."
Mr. Trump also framed the importance of re-electing Heller in terms of the Supreme Court. He said that Heller would vote for Kavanaugh, while Rosen would not.
"Wacky Jacky will never vote for us, folks," Mr. Trump said. "Right now, his vote is more important than mine, because he's got to help Kavanaugh get in."
Trump criticizes Rosen, calls for funding of border wall
Mr. Trump sharply criticized Rosen, introducing the nickname "Wacky Jacky" to describe her.
"Remember this: Dean's Democrat opponent -- Wacky Jacky -- she doesn't get it," Mr. Trump said. He also scoffed at the idea that Rosen would be moderate should she enter the Senate. "She's going to do whatever Pelosi and Schumer tell her to do. Every one of them, they come in and they say 'oh, we want to be bipartisan' -- they never vote for us."
Mr. Trump accused the Democratic Party of wanting to turn the United States into the "next Venezuela." The audience responded with chants of "Build the Wall."
Mr. Trump discussed the progress of the border wall, saying that it needed more funding.
He said he was not thrilled about the $1.6 billion Senate Republicans have included in spending plans for the wall. Mr. Trump has threatened to support a government shutdown if Democrats and Republicans are not able to agree to adding more funding for building a border wall.
Mr. Trump also criticized the media, accusing it of being biased towards Democrats.
"Their best ally is those people right there," Mr. Trump said, gesturing to reporters in the arena. "I can't tell you how dishonest and corrupt so much of the media is."
Trump pushes Republicans to vote
The president encouraged Republicans to turn out in the midterm election, emphasizing the importance of voting even more than he has at similar campaign rallies in other states.
"I want to give a victory speech on the evening of election day. We're not going to let people undo the incredible job that we've done," Mr. Trump said. He mentioned that early voting begins in Nevada in October.
He also mocked former President Barack Obama for campaigning for Democrats in the midterm elections, noting that his support didn't help Hillary Clinton to win in 2016.
"When I was running, I swear, I think he campaigned harder than Hillary Clinton," Mr. Trump said. Nonetheless, Mr. Trump won 306 electoral votes on Election Night, a number which he often touts.
Trump hits familiar talking points in rally
Mr. Trump hit familiar talking points in his rally on Thursday, specifically criticizing Democrats for supporting what he called "open borders" and "illegal aliens."
He also criticized "Medicare for All," which he described as taking money from Medicare to create socialized health care.
However, the president concluded his speech by once again encouraging Nevadans to vote, a break from his usual speech-ending riff which ends in a rousing crescendo of "We will make America great again." Instead, Mr. Trump used his final words to remind voters about Election Day.
"Go out, and vote. You're not letting me down, and I'm never ever going to let you down," he exhorted voters.