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Trump bashes Democratic opponents in campaign-style Louisiana speech

Trump swipes at Democrats in Louisiana

President Trump treated a taxpayer-funded trip to a Louisiana liquefied natural gas facility on Tuesday like a campaign rally, blasting his Democratic opponents as he touted the importance of American energy independence. 

In his speech, the president decried "fake news" and alluded to Louisiana voting for him in 2016, "one of the highest-rated days in the history of television." But the president reserved his strongest words for the 2020 Democratic hopefuls.

"I got Boot Edge Edge. I got 'em all," the president said, referring to Pete Buttigieg. "I got Beto, Beto Beto's falling fast, what the hell happened? Remember about four four weeks ago he said, 'I was made for this.' He was made for it, he was made to fall like a rock, what happened to him? But he's trying to restart his campaign, that generally doesn't work out too well. Political geniuses, when you have to restart your campaign, history has said that that does not work out well right? History has said that that's trouble. But he's going to restart his campaign."

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President Trump arrives to speak on energy infrastructure at the Cameron LNG export facility, Tuesday, May 14, 2019, in Hackberry, Louisiana. Evan Vucci / AP

"But I'm looking at it I don't know what the hell happened to Biden," Mr. Trump continued. "What happened to him? I'm looking at him, I say that doesn't look like the guy I knew. But Bernie's crazy. Bernie's crazy. But Bernie's got a lot more energy than Biden so you never know. No no Bernie's got a lot of energy. But it's energy to get rid of your jobs. He's got the opposite energy that you produce. Not good energy you don't like his energy. But you know, so it's going to be one of these people. Pocahontas I think is probably out. Oh you got some beauties there — 350 million people and that's the best we can do? I don't think so. Even as Democrats I could pick better than that."

Before the speech, three police officers in the president's motorcade crashed their motorcycles and were injured on a highway after leaving the airport in Louisiana. The circumstances of the crash were not immediately clear, but Mr. Trump's vehicle was not involved. The officers were seen on the side of the road with bloody arms and were being tended to by fellow officers.

"All three are being treated for injuries at a nearby hospital and are in stable condition," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. 

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Police officers move a police motorcycle involved in an accident while escorting a motorcade with President Trump from Chennault International Airport on May 14, 2019, in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images

The president's trade war with China has rattled markets, as both the U.S. and China threaten to further hike tariffs. 

"We're having a little squabble with China," the president told reporters on the White House South Lawn Tuesday morning, adding that the U.S. has been treated very unfairly for years. The president said he's looking "very strongly" at additional tariffs. The Trump administration listed $300 billion more of Chinese goods for possible tariff hikes while Beijing vowed Tuesday to "fight to the finish" in an escalating trade battle. The stock market may experience more volatility in response to fears about damage to global economic growth, analysts said.

Mr. Trump, who in the past called himself a "tariff man," insists that increasing tariffs will put the pressure on China, although U.S. consumers pay the cost in the form of more expensive goods. 

"China will be pumping money into their system and probably reducing interest rates, as always, in order to make up for the business they are, and will be, losing," the president tweeted Tuesday morning. "If the Federal Reserve ever did a 'match,' it would be game over, we win! In any event, China wants a deal!"

Mr. Trump also shot down a New York Times report claiming his administration is considering sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East to handle Iran if necessary, decrying the report as "fake news." The president said he would "absolutely" potentially send troops to the Middle East, but if he did, it would be a "hell of a lot more" than that. 

"I think it's fake news, OK?" the president told reporters. "Now, would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that. Hopefully we are not going to have to plan for that. And if we did that we'd send a hell of a lot more troops than that. But I think it's just – where was that story, in the New York Times? Well the New York Times is fake news."

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