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Trump revels in Democratic turmoil as he returns to campaign trail and teases VP pick

Trump rallied his supporters at one of his Miami-area golf courses as he nears a deadline to announce his running mate. But he appears to be in no rush.
Election 2024 Trump
Posted at 10:01 PM, Jul 09, 2024

After largely ceding the spotlight to the mounting turmoil surrounding President Joe Biden 's campaign in the wake of their debate, former President Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail Tuesday and reveled in the Democratic infighting that has played out in public.

Trump rallied his supporters at one of his Miami-area golf courses as he nears a deadline to announce his running mate. But he appears in no rush as much of the attention is still centered on questions about President Biden's ability to govern for another four-year term. Some Democrats have started calling for President Biden to step down as their presumptive nominee following his dismal debate performance last month.

“Our victory was so absolute that Joe’s own party now wants him to throw in the towel and surrender the presidency after a single 90-minute performance," Trump said Tuesday night. "They want ‘Crooked Joe’ out of the race. It’s a shame the way they’re treating him. But don’t feel sorry for him. He’s a very bad guy.”

Trump also laced into Vice President Kamala Harris, who has become a focus of the former president and his allies as speculation has mounted that she would replace President Biden as the Democratic nominee. Trump called her “Laughing Kamala," and referred to the “Biden-Harris administration,” rather than just pinning actions on President Biden, as he had for months, as he criticized their immigration policies.

“Despite all the Democrat panic this week, the truth is, it doesn’t matter who they nominate — because we are going to beat any one of them in a thundering landslide and this November’s going to be amazing," he said.

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Both President Biden, 81, and Trump, 78, are at least two decades older than most American presidents have been, according to the Pew Research Center, which said the median age for all U.S. presidents on their first inauguration is 55 years old. But that has not stopped Trump from arguing he is stronger than President Biden, who repeatedly stumbled, paused and could not complete sentences at times during the June 27 debate. Trump was criticized by Democrats for making false statements during the debate about the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol and suggesting immigrants entering the U.S. illegally were taking so-called “Black jobs” and “Hispanic jobs.”

In an interview Monday with Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity, Trump said he thought President Biden "might very well stay in" the race. “Nobody wants to give that up that way," Trump added. "He is going to feel badly about himself for a long time. It’s hard to give it up that way, the way where they’re trying to force him out.”

In the Miami suburb of Doral, Trump underscored his strong support in a former battleground state that has now shifted toward the GOP. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Miami native and one of the contenders for the vice presidential post, was among the Florida politicians who spoke at the event.

Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, is seen as a potential running mate who could help Trump as he tries to secure support from Hispanic Americans, a point the senator emphasized in his remarks as he switched several times in his remarks to Spanish.

The senator did not openly acknowledge any of the speculation about him joining Trump as a running mate. He instead skewered not only President Biden, whom he called “the figurehead of a left-wing government, shadow government," but Harris, whom he would need to debate head-on if he's chosen for Trump's ticket.

Rubio referred to Harris not by name at first but called her President Biden's “replacement” and “a real-life, verified left-winger." At another point in his remarks, he mocked the way Harris laughs.

He notably seemed to insert himself into Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” slogan by saying: “Together, we’re not just going to make it great again. We elect this man as president, we will make together America greater than it has ever been.”

Thousands of people turned out in the humid summer evening for the rally. Attendees were fanning themselves and holding signs featuring Trump's mugshot, along with others that said, “You're fired!” — Trump's signature phrase on his former reality show, “The Apprentice.”

One man, 28-year-old Austin Stiglin, said he traveled from northern Florida to participate in his first Trump rally. He was wearing a star-patterned navy blue jacket and red pants and said he was “tired of the left telling him to vote left just because I am gay.”

“I have a lot more to say than just my sexual orientation,” Stiglin said. “I would like to vote for policies that support the United States."

Nicole Farrell, a 57-year-old immigrant from Trinidad, said she voted for Trump in 2020, "but I was not a strong supporter like now. I just preferred him over Biden.”

Farrell said she specifically likes Trump's hardline immigration policies, which include plans for mass raids and the largest deportation operation in U.S. history.

“I am an immigrant but I came here legally. They need to come here legally," Farrell said of migrants coming to the U.S.

The leadership crisis among Democrats has perhaps given Trump a reason to wait for his VP announcement so as to not draw attention away from President Biden's woes. Senior advisers and key allies say they still don’t know whom Trump will choose as his running mate, and many believe the choice is still in flux.

Speaking on MSNBC Monday, President Biden criticized Trump for not having held events since the debate and suggested he had been “riding around in his golf cart.”

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