- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Fresh from his condemnation by House Democrats, President Trump exulted Wednesday that he’s winning his feud against a “squad” of liberal lawmakers, pointing to an uptick in his polling and claiming victory with boisterous supporters at a campaign rally in North Carolina.

He attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee and U.S. citizen from Minnesota, by claiming she is disloyal to the country, resulting in chants of “send her back” from his Greenville crowd and evoking his 2016 war with Hillary Clinton.

“I do think I’m winning the political fight, I think I’m winning it by a lot,” Mr. Trump told reporters as he left the White House. “They are not espousing the views of our country, the four congresswomen.”

He said the Democratic Party “is really going in a direction that nobody thought possible — they’re going so far left that they’re going to fall off a cliff.”

Down at the rally, Mr. Trump rejoiced that the House “has overwhelmingly voted to kill the most ridiculous project I’ve ever been involved in, the resolution — how stupid is that? — on impeachment.”

“The vote was a totally lopsided 332 to 95,” Mr. Trump said, referring to an attempt that didn’t have full backing from Democratic leaders. “So now we have that behind us.”

Citing the strong economy, the rebuilt military, tax cuts and lower regulation, the president said, “And they want to try and impeach. It’s a disgrace.”

A day after House Democrats voted to condemn what they called Mr. Trump’s “racist” comments for urging the four liberal lawmakers to “go back” to their countries of origin, the president pointed with satisfaction to only four GOP defections in the vote.

“The story last night was that 187 Republicans voted in favor of Trump, and four voted against,” the president said. “I think that was the big story. There’s great unity in the Republican Party.”

Mr. Trump also called attention to a new Rasmussen poll showing his job approval climbing 4 percentage points since Friday, to 50%. He credited it to his incendiary public battle with the so-called “Squad” of freshman Democrats — Ms. Omar and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, all of whom are U.S. citizens.

Mr. Trump claimed some of them lied about conditions at the border, where illegal-immigrant detention camps have drawn fresh scrutiny.

A poll taken since the president started the spat Sunday showed his popularity rising among Republicans. The Reuters/Ipsos poll found that Mr. Trump’s net approval among Republicans increased 5 percentage points, to 72%, compared with the same survey a week earlier.

The president has said the furor over his comments didn’t worry him “because many people agree with me.”

“I’m not relishing the fight,” Mr. Trump said. “I’m enjoying it because I have to get the word out to the American people.”

From Greenville, he recounted his 2016 victory in North Carolina and other key states, checking off his push for more jobs and a border wall with Mexico since that night.

“We have to do it again,” he said, prompting chants of “four more years” from the crowd.

He also claimed to be making inroads with women, a potential worry spot for the campaign in certain suburbs, citing economic progress under his tenure.

“What’s wrong with you, men?” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump called up Dan Bishop, a Republican who is taking on Dan McCready — a Democrat — in a special election for a congressional seat in North Carolina. The candidate revved up the crowd, arguing his foe will reverse the GOP tax cuts from 2017.

Mr. Trump also lauded Sen. Thom Tillis, North Carolina Republican facing reelection next year, for his work on fighting human trafficking.

The Reuters poll also showed, however, that Mr. Trump lost approval among independents and Democrats in the past week. About three out of 10 independents said they approved of Mr. Trump, down from four out of 10 a week ago, and his approval among Democrats was down 2 percentage points.

The president’s overall approval remained unchanged over the past week, at 41%, in the survey.

Mr. Trump sparked the controversy Sunday by tweeting the four congresswomen should all go back to their “broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Three of the lawmakers were born in the U.S., and Ms. Omar has been a naturalized citizen since she was a teenager.

The statement reminded minorities, immigrants and others of hurtful comments they’d heard their whole lives and that portray them as outsiders.

The president is shifting his language from “go back” to “leave,” saying he wants opponents to emigrate if they’re unhappy in the U.S.

“If they don’t love it, tell them to leave it,” Mr. Trump said.

Congressional Democrats said they didn’t expect to change Mr. Trump’s rhetoric but defended taking a stand against his comments through a resolution.

“Those words are racism,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters. “We’re offended that he says that about people across the country all the time — ‘go back where you came from.’ And that is, by its definition, those words are racism.”

She said the resolution to condemn him was “benign,” compared with the criticisms of the president that some of her Democratic troops wanted to include in it.

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