- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 3, 2019

TUPELO, Mississippi — Meet the members of President Trump’s new “angry majority.”

Lisa Finley, 54, and her mother, Mary Jo Hughes, drove nearly two hours from their homes in central Tennessee to cheer for President Trump at a campaign rally in northern Mississippi and to vent their frustration at Democrats’ attempt to impeach him.

“It’s not fair at all,” Mrs. Finley, a cosmetologist, said of impeachment. “I want him to be able to carry on for four more years. We deserve that — a better America.”

Mrs. Hughes, standing with her daughter Friday night on the floor of the packed BancorpSouth Arena, shook her head and made a sour expression when asked about the impeachment inquiry in Congress.

“It’s not right,” she said adamantly. “It shouldn’t be.”

William Ellis, a retired truck driver from Victoria, Mississippi, put it more bluntly.

SEE ALSO: Democrats bank on open impeachment hearings to win public support

“I think it’s f——d up!” Mr. Ellis said of the impeachment drive. “They don’t like Trump, and they don’t like what he’s doing.”

The president believes these supporters are proof of a rising backlash against the Democrats’ impeachment probe.

“The Democrats’ outrageous conduct has created an angry majority that will vote many ‘do-nothing’ Democrats out of office in 2020, make no mistake,” Mr. Trump said at the rally. “They are coming after the Republican Party and me because I’m fighting for you. They don’t like it.”

The president visited Mississippi to campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tate Reeves ahead of Tuesday’s election. A Mason-Dixon survey showed Mr. Reeves leading Democrat Jim Hood by 46% to 43%. The poll also showed that 56% of Mississippians oppose the president’s impeachment.

Mr. Trump is calling on Mississippi’s voters to use the governor’s election to send a message to congressional Democrats about impeachment.

“It’s very important for this reason,” the president said. “With your support, we will show the corrupt Democrats that the American people are not ever going to back down from perhaps the greatest victory in political history.”

Polls suggest that the impeachment controversy has hardened voters’ partisan positions rather than changing minds. A FiveThirtyEight tracker shows that 84% of Democrats and 11% of Republicans support impeachment. Among independents, support for impeachment has risen in the past month from 34% to 45%.

The Trump campaign said the anger over impeachment has boosted its fundraising. Campaign manager Brad Parscale said the campaign raised $3 million in the first 24 hours after the House voted Thursday along party lines to move forward with its impeachment investigation.

Demonstrating the campaign’s rapid use of digital tools to respond to developments, Facebook ads from the Trump Make America Great Again Committee were launched the day after the House vote, asking supporters to add their names to a list of people willing to “Stand with President Trump” in the face of the impeachment inquiry.

Supporters were asked to give their names, email addresses, ZIP codes and mobile numbers. The campaign uses text messaging in particular as a reliable way to reach supporters.

Mrs. Finley, an independent from Enville, Tennessee, said she’s been hoping that Trump supporters could band together on Facebook to beat back impeachment somehow with a massive online uprising.

“I’ve been wondering why we couldn’t get together, like on Facebook — and share it and share it and share it,” she said.

If that fails, she said, “Our church prays a lot about it.”

Her mother said Democrats are messing with divine forces, when it comes to Mr. Trump.

“God put him in here as our president,” Mrs. Hughes said. “I believe that with all of my heart.”

Religious leaders met with the president at the White House last week and prayed, for him and for the nation. Mr. Trump said later that his support among evangelicals remains strong.

“They’ve never seen it so unified,” he said of the spiritual leaders.

Mrs. Finley expressed the firm belief that House Democrats are up to no good.

“I think they’re going to do everything they can to get him out of there,” she said. “They’re not going to quit.”

She also has a theory about Rep. Adam B. Schiff, California Democrat and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. She believes Mr. Schiff, the leader of the impeachment inquiry, is actually the anonymous government whistleblower who raised the complaint about Mr. Trump allegedly trying to extort the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic front-runner Joseph R. Biden.

“That’s the reason he didn’t want to come out with him,” Mrs. Finley said of the whistleblower who hasn’t testified for lawmakers.

The existence of the whistleblower as an executive-branch official was confirmed by a report from Michael Atkinson, the inspector-general for the intelligence community. Mr. Schiff would have no standing to file a complaint with him.

Mr. Ellis, the retired truck driver, said he is following the Ukraine saga “24/7” on Fox News.

Asked if he thought the president had done anything wrong, he replied, “Oh, hell no. I think it’s a setup. He didn’t do anything — Joe Biden did.”

Mr. Reeves, locked in a tight contest with his Democratic opponent for governor, is only too happy to cast Tuesday’s election as a referendum on House Democrats’ impeachment effort.

“These radical liberals have been trying to remove our president from office since the very day he was sworn in,” Mr. Reeves told Trump supporters. “They have disrespected him, and that means they have disrespected us.”

The president wrapped up his Mississippi rally — he’ll hold more rallies on Monday in Kentucky and Wednesday in Louisiana — by telling voters he’s done nothing wrong.

“It always helps when you didn’t do anything wrong,” Mr. Trump said. “So we’re going to send a signal by sending a terrific new Republican governor to Jackson on Tuesday.”

He told the crowd, “You’re going to get out and you’re going to vote and you’re going to give up whatever you have to give up. You’re going to leave work maybe a little earlier, or maybe get there a little late, tell your boss I said it was okay.”

“I will give you a pardon if I have to — I’ll give you a one-hour pardon,” the president said as he was drowned out by roars of approval from the capacity crowd.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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