Trump reelection launch heralds political scorched earth campaign
With a 2020 campaign launch painting opponents in almost apocalyptic terms, President Donald Trump showed Democrats the scorched earth treatment they can expect in his fight for reelection.
And Democrats - barring Trump's most fiery leftist rival Bernie Sanders - showed Thursday how they might respond: with a collective shrug.
Even for a showman president renowned for exaggerating achievements, insulting opponents and making wildly inaccurate claims, Trump's speech to 20,000 people at an Orlando, Florida arena stood out.
From the opening minutes, he attacked journalists at the venue, encouraging the excited crowd to hurl verbal abuse.
He branded Democrats "driven by hatred" and bent on "radical socialism."
He claimed that illegal immigrants threaten working class Americans, "cutting off their path to the American dream."
Over nearly 80 minutes, the president delivered no new ideas. Neither did he make the slightest effort to reach beyond his right-wing base.
This was about firing up Republican shock troops for what will be a toxic campaign.
"He excited the base and it sends a pretty strong message to the Democrats that this is going to be a pretty tough race," Committee to Defend the President chairman Ted Harvey said on Trump's go-to TV channel Fox News.
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