Trump said he was eying a replacement who would be on the court for 40 to 45 years, a chance to lock in another reliably conservative justice and give the high court a conservative majority for the foreseeable future.
The president implored the 5,800 supporters at a packed Scheels Arena to vote for Republicans in the midterm elections, including Kevin Cramer, a Republican congressman from North Dakota who is challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) this fall.
“Justice Kennedy’s retirement makes the issue of Senate control the vital issue of our time,” Trump declared. “It’s one of most important things we can do.”
Trump appeared buoyed by the loud and enthusiastic audience after several days that have picked up spirits in the West Wing. The president sought to use high-profile acts of protests in recent weeks — including the public disclosures of names and publicly available information of staff at Immigration and Customs Enforcement by WikiLeaks — to suggest that progressives and Democrats are growing more “radical” to oppose his administration.
The protesters “really want anarchy,” Trump said. “But the only response they can find from our government is really strong law and order.”
Of his travel ban, which prohibits visitors and immigrants from five Muslim-majority countries, along with North Korea and Venezuela, Trump called it a “common-sense policy to improve vetting and national security. I’m proud to report that just yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld the travel ban to. . . keep America safe.”
Trump flew to Fargo with Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Cramer aboard Air Force One. After the plane touched down, the three disembarked together, with the president pumping his fist to a bullpen of supporters watching on the tarmac. Descending the stairs, they were greeted by Gov. Doug Burgum (R).
In his remarks, Trump attacked Democrats, including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who called on activists to publicly confront Trump administration officials to “push back” on them for the president’s policies. Waters’s exhortation came after several high-profile incidents last week in which Trump aides, including press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, were confronted at restaurants and forced to leave.
Trump mentioned Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and said: “Now they have a new leader, who’s the new leader? Maxine Waters.”
“We must elect more Republicans,” Trump said later. “We have to do that.”