Trump seeks to boost vulnerable GOP senator with Colorado rally

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE on Thursday rallied with supporters in Colorado, seeking to boost vulnerable GOP Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior faces legal scrutiny for keeping controversial acting leaders in office | White House faces suit on order lifting endangered species protections | Lawmakers seek investigation of Park Police after clearing of protesters The Hill’s Campaign Report: Republicans go on attack over calls to ‘defund the police’ MORE (Colo.) as the state’s Senate election this coming November could help determine which party will control the upper chamber.

Trump exuded confidence in his remarks to thousands of supporters in Colorado Springs, predicting a strong showing for his campaign in November.

“We are going to win Colorado in a landslide,” Trump declared to the thousands of supporters. “And you’re going to help us get Cory Gardner across that line because he’s been with us 100 percent. There was no waver.”

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The president lost Colorado and its nine electoral votes in 2016 by about 5 percentage points, or roughly 136,000 votes. Democrats retained control of the governor’s mansion in the 2018 election and flipped one House seat as the state becomes more solidly blue.

But the president’s presence in the state may be as much about the general presidential election as it is about trying to shore up the Republican majority in the Senate. 

After introducing a host of special guests — the state’s Republican congressmen, Donald Trump Jr. and Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White among them — Trump welcomed Gardner onto the stage. The two men shook hands and exchanged compliments.

Trump expressed appreciation for Gardner sticking by him through the impeachment trial, saying the senator viewed the allegations that he withheld security aid for Ukraine in exchange for investigations into his political rivals as “a lot of bull.”

“He’s got my complete and total support endorsement. He will never let you down,” Trump said, though his verbal embrace of Gardner coincided with a cascade of boos directed at a protester in the crowd.

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Gardner is among the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection in the Senate in November. He narrowly won his seat in 2014 and will likely square off with former Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperGun control group rolls out first round of Senate endorsements The Hill’s Campaign Report: Republicans go on attack over calls to ‘defund the police’ Hickenlooper ethics questions open him up to attack MORE (D), a centrist who ran a brief and unsuccessful presidential campaign. The Cook Political Report rates the race a “toss-up,” while Sabato’s Crystal Ball on Thursday shifted it to “leans Democratic.”

The Colorado senator has attempted to tie himself closely to Trump, hoping that strong turnout among the president’s base will deliver him a victory. Gardner voted against hearing from witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial last month and voted to acquit the president on both articles.

While on stage Thursday night, Gardner asked the crowd to applaud Trump twice. He thanked the president for deliver funding for a state pipeline and echoed Trump in warning against the rise of socialism.

“There was a dangerous thing that happened in 2016. It was the normalization of socialism by Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE,” Gardner said, depicting himself as a safeguard against Sanders’ platform. 

Trump’s speech hit on many of the same notes as most of his rally remarks. He boasted of increased military spending, economic prosperity for minority communities in particular and a boom in energy production . He also painted Democrats as “radical” and railed against investigations into his administration.

He devoted time to mocking Wednesday night’s Democratic debate, chiding the performance of Michael BloombergMichael BloombergEngel scrambles to fend off primary challenge from left It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Liberals embrace super PACs they once shunned MORE and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Democrats demand Republican leaders examine election challenges after Georgia voting chaos Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-Minn.) in particular.

Trump often veered off script, recalling how he spoke at the Air Force Academy commencement ceremony last year and complaining at length about Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto.

Thursday’s rally was the second of three that Trump will hold on consecutive days during a rare trip out west. The president rallied supporters in Arizona on Wednesday where he was joined by Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyGOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police No evidence of unauthorized data transfers by top Chinese drone manufacturer: study Senate Democratic campaign arm launches online hub ahead of November MORE (R-Ariz.) who is facing a difficult reelection fight.

Trump will hold a rally in Nevada on Friday a day before the state holds its Democratic caucuses before returning to Washington, D.C.

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