Saying that “nobody’s going to change” the lives of Americans, President Donald Trump went ahead with a scheduled campaign rally in downstate Illinois, as he looked to drum up support for several Republican congressmen.
The president, who spoke at the rally to encourage voters to back Representative Mike Bost, said that he had given thought to cancelling the event after a mass shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue left 12 people dead, but that he wanted to send a message that acts of violence should not deter Americans from living their lives.
“When we start changing around our lives and our schedules, we can’t allow people like this to become important, and when we change all of our lives to accommodate them, it’s not acceptable,” he said. “We have our lives. We have our schedules. And nobody’s going to change it. So we’re here. And let’s have a good time.”
The president spoke for over an hour at a rally at Southern Illinois Airport in Murphysboro, and he hit on familiar campaign themes of increased border security, more military spending, and an emphasis on investing in American jobs.
“We’ve made so much progress, we don’t want to give up that progress,” he said. “Under Republican leadership, America is booming like never before because we are finally putting America first.
Bost briefly spoke at the lectern during the president’s speech, thanking Trump for coming to Illinois and encouraging his supporters to vote early in a hotly contested race with Democratic challenger Brendan Kelly.
President Trump blasted Kelly as a far-left extremist in his speech, saying that the Democratic party is in favor of open borders.
“A vote for Brendan Kelly is a vote for Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters,” he said. “He’s weak on crime, and he’s for open borders. How do Democrats run on a platform of ‘open borders, we’re going to take care of illegal aliens’ healthcare. We’re going to raise your taxes.’ How do you win a race like that?”
In a statement released after the rally, Kelly’s campaign disputed the idea that he would vote for Pelosi as Speaker of the House, and said that Trump’s promises of better jobs and more money in the pockets of Americans have gone unfulfilled.
“Paychecks arent’ growing, the cost of everything from beer to gas to healthcare is rising, and the powerful few on the coasts and career politicians in Washington DC get more power while Southern Illinois suffers,” he said. “Everyone knows (I) won’t vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House.”
Representatives Rodney Davis and Randy Hultgren also spoke briefly at the rally, and the president encouraged supporters to re-elect both congressmen.
The president summed up his party’s campaign as one of “common sense,” saying that the Republican platform is best for America.
"This will be the election of the caravans, the Kavanaughs, law and order, tax cuts, and you know what else? It's going to be the election of common sense,” he said.
According to the latest polling data made available by the New York Times, Bost is holding a nine point lead in the race after leading by just one point in early September. Bost won the seat in 2014 after it had ben controlled by Democrats for nearly 30 years.