WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump is heading to his first campaign rally of the election year with cash, disgusted by the political trial and hoping to capitalize on his order to eliminate Iran's top general.
Trump will be in North Ohio for the rally this Thursday night, going to the campaign one day after retiring from the edge of the war with Iran.
The campaign event in Toledo offers Trump the opportunity to highlight before a friendly crowd his decision to order the fatal attack with drones against the Iranian Quds Commander Qassem Soleimani, while keeping the United States at least for the moment, out of a wider military conflict.RELATED
The president's reelection campaign has already used Facebook ads to highlight Trump's decision to attack Soleimani, considered the second most powerful official in Iran.
We captured a total monster, and we took it out, and that should have happened a long time ago, "Trump said before leaving Washington.
The murder of Soleimani last week caused a long and burning tension between the United States and Iran. Iran, in retaliation, fired a barrage of missiles this week at two military bases in neighboring Iraq that are home to hundreds of US soldiers. But without casualties to the US or Iraqi troops, Trump said he had no plans to take new military actions against Iran and instead enact more sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Iran's crisis, which momentarily eclipsed Trump's impending political trial, also opened a new front in the 2020 presidential campaign for Trump, who in 2016 campaigned with the promise of ending US participation in "endless wars."
Trump enters the election year with more than $ 100 million in campaign cash, a low unemployment rate and an unstable Democratic presidential camp. However, surveys show that it remains vulnerable.
In December, an AP-NORC survey showed that Trump's approval rating was 40%. There have been no more recent polls to measure support for the president following the sole assassination of Soleimani, although Trump's views have changed little over the course of his presidency.
Trump has never dropped to record lows for a president's approval ratings, but Gallup polls show that his December rating records are lower than those of the most recent presidents at the same point on his first terms. In particular, the approval of Trump and former President Barack Obama in December before his re-election offer is more or less the same.
But Obama's approval rating never dropped below 40% in Gallup polls, and he recovered slightly in the months prior to his re-election to finish his first term with an average grade just below 50%. Trump's approval rating has never been greater than 46% in Gallup Poll.
For Trump to win reelection, ensuring 18 Ohio election votes will be critical. Ohio won by 8 points in 2016, after Obama occupied the state in 2008 and 2012. The visit to Toledo marks Trump's fifteenth appearance in Ohio as president.
Trump has anchored his reelection messaging around a solid national economy with a low half-century unemployment rate of 3.5%. But parts of the industrial Midwest have lagged behind, especially as the manufacturing sector has had problems during the past year in response to slower global economic growth and trade tensions with China.
Labor Department figures show that construction and factory work plummets in Ohio. In nearby Michigan, manufacturers are also laying off workers, but so are employers in that state in the health care, education and social assistance sectors.
But the Toledo area points to an even more alarming trend in a healthy economy. The city of Crystal has lost more than 6% of its white-collar jobs in the professional and business services sector in the past year, causing the total number of jobs to sink slightly from a year ago.
Still, Kaidon Woodbury, a Perrysburg resident who will turn 18 before the election and November's plans to cast his vote for the first Trump, was optimistic about the president's chances.
Woodbury, among supporters of the Huntington Center of Toledo hours before the president's arrival, said the president has already accumulated extensive successes to win a second term.
"He makes promises and moves on," Woodbury said.
As the incumbent, Trump has been able to use his position to build a massive reserve of campaign cash at a time when Democrats are increasing and spending theirs on a competitive primary. Although many White House Democratic candidates, especially Senator Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, have raised massive sums, there is no clear favorite candidate. And many at the party are preparing for a prolonged contest that could further bleed the final resource candidate.
Meanwhile, Trump raised $ 46 million in the last quarter of 2019 and had more than 102 million in cash at the end of the year. The Republican National Committee, which does not face contribution limits as strict as the candidate, has raised even more. You will not have to publish your fundraising numbers from December until the end of the month.
When asked how much he is willing to spend on his re-election, Trump said: "I literally haven't even thought about it." He added: "I will say this, due to the accusation's deception, we are taking figures that nobody ever expected. You saw the kind of numbers we reported. We are blowing everyone away."
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