Donald Trump was in Alabama tonight campaigning for Senator Luther Strange in front of a packed house in Huntsville, as many other stood outside. He opened his speech by saying how much he loves Alabama, to which the crowd responded with chants “USA, USA, USA.”
Not long into his talk, Trump said, “Luther is going to be taking over for a man you all love…Senator Jeff Sessions. He’s doing a good job…we have him very busy.” Again, the crowd cheered.
Trump then mentioned he’d just come from “a very productive week at the United Nations,” and the crowd erupted in applause with more chants of U.S.A. “We’re going to take care of the bad people,” Trump said, adding “the world is starting to respect the United States of America again.”
More applause erupted when Trump told the Alabama crowd, “We’re going to be like your football teams, we’re going to win all the time.”
Continuing to address North Korea, Trump said, “Proud, independent and sovereign nations respect their people…We can’t have mad men out there shooting rockets all over the place. By the way, rocket man should’ve been handled a long time ago…but I’m going to handle it now because it needs to be handled. Little rocket man…we’re going to do it because we have no choice.”
Returning to the topic at hand, Trump said, “I really do love the people of Alabama because you’ve treated me so well,” to another burst of applause.
“If Hillary had won,” Trump said, “You’d be turning over your rifles,” to which the crowd responded with chants of “lock her up, lock her up.” To this, Trump quipped,”you’ll have to talk to Jeff Sessions about that.”
Turning his attention back to the man he came to endorse, Trump said, “He doesn’t even know Mitch McConnell…Luther is a tough, tough cookie. He doesn’t cow-tow to anybody. They were tying (McConnell) around his neck. Because of being saddled with stuff he was down quite a bit in the polls. So I called him and said ‘I’m going to endorse you.'”
“We have to be loyal in life,” Trump continued. “I might have made a mistake because if Luther doesn’t win, they won’t say we picked up 25 points (in the polls) in a short amount of time. They will say, Donald Trump was not able to pull his candidate across the line. By the way, they’re both good men….Luther will definitely win (in the general election). But Roy has a very good chance of not winning in the general election. Luther’s going to win easily (in the general), and Roy will have a hard time winning, but I will be backing him (Moore) if he wins (the primary),” Trump said.
The President then gave a shout-out to Huntsville’s missile defense system, which was largely developed by Boeing. To more rousing applause, the President said, ” we just approved a $700-million budget,” giving Richard Shelby credit for his help. “As long as I’m president you’re going to have so much money spent here” (presumably meaning on defense projects),” Trump promised.
Trump also said “I feel like I’m from Alabama, frankly…I love your values. Those are the values that made this country great.”
As the speech went on, Trump went to great lengths to stress that Luther Strange is not part of the establishment, that he’s beholden to no one, and that he “doesn’t do quid pro quo.” The example Trump cited is that when he called Strange for his yes vote on repealing Obamacare, Strange was the only Senator that granted it with no strings attached. That impressed Trump because Luther asked for nothing in return, and the President made it clear that his loyalty for Strange’s helpful response is what brought him to Alabama tonight.
He also stressed on several occasions that Luther is not close friends with Mitch McConnel and will not owe McConnell anything if he’s elected to the Senate.
“Again, I’m taking a big risk, (endorsing Strange)” Trump repeated, “because these people are going after me…But this is our moment; this is your moment.”
The President repeated his belief that Strange would make easy work of Doug Jones in the general election, but that Moore would have a much tougher path to victory should he be the Republican nominee that faces Jones. “If this man (Strange) wins (Tuesday),” Trump said, “that race (the general election) is over. If somebody else wins, I will tell you, that’s gonna be a very tough race.”
Several times Trump urged the audience to make sure they turn out and vote for Luther Strange. “We have got to go out and vote. On Tuesday, vote for your country, vote for your family, and vote for victory…vote for Luther Strange, he’s the phenomenal person,” the President said.
Making it clear that he does not see Luther as the political insider Moore’s campaign has made him out to be, Trump said, “Luther wants to end business as usual, stop the insider dealing, and Luther Strange is determined to DRAIN THAT SWAMP.”
“With Luther Strange…you send a fighter to change Washington the way we all know it can be… Together with the great people of Alabama, and your giant in the Senate, we will make America proud again, we will make America rich again, and we will make America great again,” the President said.
In closing, Trump said, “Together with the great people of Alabama, and your giant in the Senate (Strange), we will make American strong again; we will make American wealthy again; we will make American proud again; we will make American safe again; and we will make American GREAT again. Thank you, Alabama, I love you. I love you, Alabama.”