President Trump called his embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh a "fantastic man" from "central casting," and exhorted supporters at a Springfield, Missouri, rally "to fight for him, not worry about the other side." He added, "Women are for him more than anyone would understand."
While the president was making his case for Kavanaugh at the Friday rally for Senate GOP candidate Josh Hawley, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee were embroiled in negotiations with lawyers for the woman who alleges Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both of them were teenagers, Christine Blasey Ford. Lawmakers and Ford's lawyers are trying to reach an agreement on testimony -- likely next week -- from her and Kavanaugh about the incident.
The president also took the opportunity during the rally to bash the Justice Department and FBI, saying most people there are good, but there are some "real bad ones." Although many of the "bad ones" are gone, he continued, there is a "lingering stench, and we are going to get rid of that too." He offered nothing more specific, but he made the comments after the New York Times reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had in 2017 suggested recording Mr. Trump to show the turmoil inside the White House and talked about recruiting some in the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to declare Mr. Trump unfit for office.
Soon after the story published, Rosenstein strongly denied the story calling it "inaccurate and factually incorrect" in a statement, and he added later that he had "never pursued or authorized recording the president and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the president is absolutely false."
The Missouri rally was Mr. Trump's second in two days, after an appearance in Las Vegas for Dean Heller on Thursday.
Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri is considered to be one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for re-election, as she represents a state which voted for Mr. Trump by nearly 20 points in 2016. A recentfound that McCaskill and Hawley are neck-and-neck, as each has 45 percent support among likely voters. CBS News rates the McCaskill-Hawley race as a "toss up."
Mr. Trump spent much of the time bashing McCaskill, saying that she'll "never, ever vote for us." Hawley, however, is a "star," according to the president. The affection was mutual -- Hawley said 20,000 people had to be turned away from the arena to see Mr. Trump. He pivoted from praising Mr. Trump to hitting McCaskill.
"There's somebody who hasn't been willing to work with the president of the United States -- that somebody is Claire McCaskill," Hawley said.
After he retook the podium, Mr. Trump spent much of the speech reliving his 2016 presidential victory in an attempt to amp up rally attendees and encourage them to vote in the midterms, even though he won't be on the ballot. "Get out in 2018 because you're voting for me in 2018," he said. He also called the 2016 election "one of the greatest nights in the history of the country, but far less importantly, one of the greatest nights in the history of television."
"This November you make your voice heard, just like you did two Novembers ago, in the most exciting evening in a long time -- maybe ever," Mr. Trump said.
He also hit familiar talking points, such as low unemployment rates, trade deals and building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Mr. Trump especially criticized McCaskill for saying that she would vote against his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Referring to theagainst Kavanaugh, the president said that he should be supported and "women are for him more than anybody would understand."
McCaskill announced her opposition Wednesday, citing his positions on campaign finance.
"While I am also uncomfortable about his view on presidential power as it relates to the rule of law, and his position that corporations are people, it is his allegiance to the position that unlimited donations and dark anonymous money, from even foreign interests, should be allowed to swamp the voices of individuals that has been the determining factor in my decision to vote no on his nomination," McCaskill said in a statement.
Hawley has said that he would support Kavanaugh's confirmation, and continued to support his nomination St. Louis Public Radio. "I believe allegations of sexual misconduct should never be disregarded. That's why it's important that both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh be heard immediately and under oath."that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman when they were both in high school. "The Democrats have played politics with this entire process and were opposed to Brett Kavanaugh before he was even nominated. They don't care about the truth," Hawley said Monday, according to
Hawley also criticized McCaskill on Wednesday, writing on Twitter that her decision was "no surprise" and that McCaskill is "just another Washington liberal."
Mr. Trump's visit to Missouri also comes after The New York Times reported thatthe president and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.