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While the White House insisted the trip was not political – Trump at one point took aim at Democratic lawmakers who sat stone-faced during his State of the Union address last week – likening their response to treason.
“It got to a point where I really didn’t even want to look too much during the speech over to that side because honestly it was bad energy. It was bad energy,” he said at a manufacturing plant a Cincinnati suburb.
“You’re up there, you’ve got half the room going totally crazy wild, they loved everything, they want to do something great for our country. And you have the other side even on positive news, really positive news like that, they were like death and un-American. Un-American.”
Appearing to play off the crowd, he added: “Somebody said ‘treasonous.’ I mean, yeah, I guess, why not? Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.”
Speaking at Sheffer Corporation in Blue Ash, Ohio, Trump also said Democratic gains in Congress would be bad for economy.
“If they ever got in and took over, your taxes would go way up. You’d see bad things happening. Wouldn’t be good. That, I can tell you. Would not be good,” he said.
Trump derided a frequent target of Republicans — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, saying “She’s our secret weapon” for the midterms.
“Nancy Pelosi, what she’s doing to this country. And she’s gone so far left and Schumer has gone so far left,” he said. “Oh, I look forward to running against them. We’ve got to do well in ’18 and I know we’re going to do well in ’20, but I think we’re going to do well in ’18.”
Democrats fired back at the president on Twitter:
Hey Donnie: you still haven’t released your taxes (wondering what Russia has on you). Paul Ryan got destroyed for deleting his embarrassing tweet bragging about meager $1.50 while corporations get billions in windfalls. Oh and the Dow is down +1000 points. https://t.co/JMqifhcOe9
— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) February 5, 2018
The president delivered his remarks as the Dow Jones Industrial Average nose-dived down more than 1,500 points before rebounding before the closing bell. The Dow closed at 24,345.75 – down 1,175 points.
The president made no mention of the tumbling stock market despite taking credit for its performance in the past.
“The stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion and more in value in just this short period of time,” he said in last week’s State of the Union address. “The great news for Americans, 401k, retirement, pension, and college savings accounts have gone through the roof.”
In November, the president told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Tokyo, “The reason our stock market is so successful is because of me. I’ve always been great with money, I’ve always been great with jobs, that’s what I do. And I’ve done it well, I’ve done it really well, much better than people understand and they understand I’ve done well.”
Hours before the closing bell, the White House downplayed the stock market drop, attributing to the ebb and flow of the market.
“Look, markets do fluctuate in the short term. We all know that. And they do that for number of reasons,” Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters aboard Air Force One. “But the fundamentals of this economy are very strong and they’re headed in the right direction — for the middle class, in particular.”
Ahead of his remarks, the president toured the Sheffer plant, which manufactures cylinders and gave its 126 employees $1,000 bonuses after the Republican tax law was enacted last year.
“I love equipment, and I love workers. You have them both,” he said. “We love manufacturing. Those are real jobs, not the other kind where they talk but there’s nothing there.”
ABC’s Jordyn Phelps contributed to this report.