President Trump is back in Florida for the second time this week, this time telling a crowd in Pensacola that "this election is about safety." The Saturday night rally was the second of the day for Mr. Trump, who flew in from Montana and held the rally in the airport hangar.
Mr. Trump criticized Florida's Democratic candidates, claiming he had "never received a call from Bill Nelson," the state's Democratic senator. Mr. Trump criticized Tallahassee, located about 200 miles from Pensacola on the Florida Panhandle, as "one of the biggest problem cities in America." Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is the Democratic candidate for governor, and Mr. Trump called him a "a radical socialist ... who will not do good things for Florida."
Continuing the theme of safety, Mr. Trump said "when you people camping out on your front lawn, remember Gillum."
Mr. Trump praised the area's recovery from Hurricane Michael, which made landfall on the Florida Panhandle on Oct. 10. But he said the hurricane led to some job losses, but "despite your hurricane," jobs were added in October. "If you add those numbers back in, which I won't bother doing, it's really wild," he said about the 250,000 jobs added in October.
Other than the increased attention on Florida, Mr. Trump hit many of familiar themes of safety, the economy, immigration, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, "radical Democats" and American leaders "apologizing for your great country." He only touched upon the media, briefly saying "we always debate three people: the person, plus the media, against me."
Early in the rally, Mr. Trump was halted becaue a woman needed medical attention.
Florida was critical to Mr. Trump's victory in 2016, and if Democrats gained control of governorship in particular, it could show that his brand is no longer as potent with Florida voters. The state is also personal for Mr. Trump, who calls his Mar-a-Lago estate the "Winter White House."
DeSantis, a staunch supporter of Mr. Trump, is facing Democrat Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee. Polls generally show Gillum to be leading Nelson by a narrow margin. A recent CNN poll showed Gillum leading among likely voters 49 to 48 percent. Scott, the current governor of Florida, is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. According to a for late October, the two are neck and neck, with both Scott and Nelson receiving 46 percent support from likely voters. The CBS News Battleground Tracker rates that race as a "toss up."
How to watch the Trump rally in Florida:
- What: President Trump "Make America Great Again" rally
- Where: Pensacola International Airport in Pensacola, Florida
- When: Nov. 3, 2018; 6:30 p.m. ET
- How to watch: On CBSN, the live player above
This is Mr. Trump's second trip to Florida in the week before the midterm elections. He rallied for DeSantis and Scott in Estero, Florida,. At that rally, Mr. Trump called Gillum a "Venezuela-style" dictator who had taken "bribes."
Former President Barack Obama, who is similarly making the rounds on the campaign trail stumping for Democratic candidates,on Friday. Should Gillum win, he will be Florida's first black governor.
Obama gently chastised a heckler for using profanity in front of children. The protester then started blowing a whistle and Obama addressed the individual again.
"If you support the other candidates, then you should support the other candidates," Obama said. "Go to their rallies."
Periodically the crowd chanted to drown out the protester: "Bring it home! Bring it home!"
"Why is it that the folks that won the last election are so mad all the time," Obama asked. "When I won the presidency, at least my side felt pretty good."
We have seen rhetoric designed to divide us, the former president told the crowd. "In four days, you can be a check on that kind of behavior," Obama said in a speech that embraced themes of inclusivity and social justice. You can choose a more generous vision of America, "where love and hope conquer hate," he said.
Caroline Linton contributed to this report.
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