In an meandering hour-long speech in West Virginia, Donald Trump said he “fell in love” with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, while escalating his rhetoric about the supreme court confirmation fight of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Speaking about his relationship with Kim, Trump said “We fell in love.” He added “No really. He wrote me beautiful letters. They were great letters. And then we fell in love.” Trump and Kim met in Singapore this year as part of the president’s attempt to push the North Korean regime to disarm after earlier insulting Kim as “little rocket man”.
He opened his speech by celebrating his trip to the United Nations general assembly earlier this week. “I just left the United Nations, believe me they respect us now again,” said Trump despite the audible laughter when he addressed the body.
He also accused Democrats of “throwing away every standard of decency” and using “meanness and nastiness” in their treatment of Kavanaugh. “They don’t care who they hurt, who they have to run over in order to get power and control and that’s what they want: power and control” said Trump on Saturday night.
The remarks represented Trump’s most fiery comments on Kavanaugh as the FBI reopened a background investigation into allegations the supreme court nominee committed sexual assault in the 1980s. Trump had been uncharacteristically restrained in the aftermath of Thursday’s dramatic hearing where both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Dr Christine Blasey Ford, testified before the Senate judiciary committee.
The rally was held to promote the candidacy of Republican Patrick Morriseyin West Virginia’s tight Senate race. Morrisey’s opponent, incumbent Joe Manchin, is perhaps the most conservative Democrat and considered a swing vote in the confirmation fight over Kavanaugh. Manchin was one of the key backers of Arizona Republican Jeff Flake’s efforts to delay a final vote on Kavanaugh and reopen the FBI investigation on Friday.
Trump did not directly criticise the West Virginia Democrat on Kavanaugh. Instead he painted him as a Democrat whose victory could give his party control of the Senate which Trump said could lead to the US becoming a “big version” of Venezuela. He added “a vote for Morrisey is a vote for me.”
Instead, Trump focused his ire over Kavanaugh’s nomination towards all Democrats, telling the crowd “the entire nation has witnessed the shameless conduct of the Democrat party”.
He also seemed to turn the midterms into referendum not only on Democratic perfidy but also that of the “fake news media” whom he addressed again as “the enemy of the people”. Trump told the crowd of the press, “This November 6 you have a chance to reject these disgraceful political hacks but you gotta vote Republican.”
Trump also took a veiled shot at former Republican president George H W Bush, mocking his signature “Thousand Point of Light” organisation. Named after a phrase that Bush used in his inaugural, it promotes volunteerism. Trump said mockingly “thousand points of light which nobody has figured out” while imitating a “presidential” figure. It was the second time Trump has mocked the group. A spokesman for the former president did not immediately respond to a request for comment.