President Donald Trump went on a political rampage against anyone and everyone in his path during a campaign rally in Minneapolis on Thursday night, calling the impeachment inquiry into his behavior “insane” while lobbing a stream of unfounded conspiracy theories and vicious insults against many of his Democratic critics.
“From day one, the wretched Washington swamp has been trying to nullify the results of a truly great and democratic election, the election of 2016. They’re trying, they’re not getting very far,” said Trump, who spent a majority of the rally going off-script. “They want to erase your vote like it never existed, they want to erase your voice and they want to erase your future. But they will fail because in America the people rule again.”
Thursday’s event was the first since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) opened a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump’s July 25 call with the leader of Ukraine. During the conversation, Trump repeatedly pressed his counterpart, President Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate one of his prime political rivals, Joe Biden, and his son Hunter Biden. Trump has maintained he did nothing wrong and has vehemently rejected assertions that he asked for a quid pro quo for releasing already-appropriated military aid to Ukraine.
The president continued to attack the Bidens on Thursday, saying, without evidence, that they “got rich” and “sold out America” during the last administration. Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company for a five-year period that ended in early 2019, but neither Biden has been accused of any wrongdoing.
“He was never considered smart,” Trump said of Joe Biden. “He was only a good vice president because he understood how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass.”
“True,” Trump said to a cheering crowd. “It’s true.”
Biden, who spent the evening at a Human Rights Campaign event focused on LGBTQ issues, decried Trump’s message later that evening, saying America was “so much stronger than your weakness.”
Trump also took aim at Pelosi, a frequent target of his ire, saying she was “either really stupid” or had “really lost it” when she announced the impeachment inquiry.
“Or maybe there’s a certain dishonesty in there,” he said.
During one of the president’s more venomous attacks, Trump took aim at Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar (D), calling her an “America-hating socialist” who was a “disgrace to our country.”
“How do you have such a person representing you in Minnesota? I’m very angry at you people right now,” Trump said of the freshman congresswoman. “She is a disgrace to our country, and she is one of the big reasons that I am going to win and the Republican Party is going to win Minnesota.”
Trump regularly turned from the teleprompter during the event, saying it was “much better when I go off-script.” During one such instance, he also acted out a bizarre conversation between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page.
Thursday’s rally was emblematic of Trump’s latest attempts to turn the momentum behind the impeachment inquiry to favor his own political agenda. The White House has refused to comply with the House’s investigations, and the president’s campaign has been fundraising en masse since Pelosi first announced the impeachment proceedings.
This article has been updated with a reaction from Biden.