The Latest: Trump tears into Democrats at raucous rally

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s rally in Cincinnati (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump has used a revved-up rally in Cincinnati to tear into the Democrats he has been elevating as his new political foils.

But the president mostly avoided the racial controversy that has dominated recent weeks as he basked in front of the raucous crowd for nearly 90 minutes on Thursday, unleashing broadside after broadside on his political foes.

Trump had faced widespread criticism for not doing more to stop the chants of “Send her back” about Somali-born Rep. Ilhan Omar at a rally last month. He seemed to want to avoid further furor, urging his supporters ahead of the rally to avoid the chant and largely sticking to a greatest hits performance.

But while he did not mention Omar or her three colleagues by name at his Ohio gathering, the target of his attacks was unmistakable.


8:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is touting his trade policies with China at a campaign rally in Cincinnati after announcing earlier in the day that he would impose a 10% tariff on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports he hasn’t already taxed.

Trump said Thursday that for the last two decades, China has taken hundreds of billions of dollars out of the U.S. He says, “We’re stopping the theft of American jobs.”

Trump says he believes China wants to make a new trade deal but he says he thinks China would prefer to wait for the results of the next presidential election.

The president says, “They would like to see a new president in a year and a half so they could continue to rip off the United States like they’ve been doing for the last 25 years.”

Trump’s threats on China rattled the stock markets earlier in the day.


8:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump has so far dialed down his criticism of four liberal congresswomen of color during a campaign rally in Cincinnati.

In doing so, he avoided a repeat of the North Carolina rally two weeks ago, when the crowd chanted, “Send her back!” regarding Somali-born Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

Trump had said going into the Cincinnati rally that he didn’t know what he would do if the crowd began that chant again.

Trump on Thursday did not mention Omar or her three colleagues by name in the opening moments, but the target of his comments was unmistakable.

Trump says, “The Democrat Party is now being led by four left-wing extremists who reject everything that we hold dear.” Trump was referring to Omar and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.


7:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump is blaming Democrats for crime in the nation’s largest cities as he speaks at a rally in Cincinnati.

Trump said Thursday: “No one has paid a higher price for the far-left destructive agenda than Americans living in our nation’s inner cities.”

Trump is following up harsh comments he made earlier this week when he lashed out at Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, calling his Baltimore-area district a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

Trump claims Democrats want to help migrants more than their own struggling communities.

Trump is also attacking California for the number of homeless people living on the streets.

Trump captured Ohio by nearly 9 percentage points in 2016. It’s a state critical to his reelection prospects.


7:25 p.m.

For some of President Donald Trump’s fans, there was no need to buy any of the bright-red “Make America Great Again” hats being hawked by vendors around the site of Thursday night’s rally.

They just put on their hometown Cincinnati Reds baseball team’s caps.

Scott Bippus, of Hamilton, Ohio, wore a Reds cap with a flag design, saying it worked out well for the rally. His 18-year-old son, Christian, has soured on the recently struggling Reds and bought a MAGA cap.

Anti-Trump demonstrator Gary Skitt is among fans shunning their favorite team’s red caps. He wore a cap that was half-white and a duller red than the team’s official cap. He says he stopped wearing his bright-red cap when friends asked if he had “gone to the other side.”


7 p.m.

Hundreds of people are shouting “Resist!” in responses to a speaker’s bullhorn call to “Dump Trump!” in a demonstration a couple of blocks from the arena where President Donald Trump is holding a rally in Cincinnati.

People assembled Thursday at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center an hour before the president’s scheduled 7 p.m. rally at U.S. Bank Arena.

Grassroots organizer Richard Asimus complained that a separate planned demonstration had to be moved because police had blocked off streets near the arena.

Democratic Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval (PYUR'-vawl), who attended the demonstration, referenced a moment at a Trump rally two weeks ago in North Carolina when the crowd chanted, “Send her back!” about a Somali-born congresswoman of color. Pureval says it was “incredibly sad.”


5:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump says former Vice President Joe Biden “limped” through the Democratic presidential debate.

Offering a review as he left the White House for a trip to Cincinnati on Thursday, the Republican president also thought California Sen. Kamala Harris “did not do well.”

Biden was panned for his lackluster performance at the first Democratic presidential debate in June in Miami but appeared to hold his own Wednesday in Detroit as he was attacked by the nine rivals on stage with him. Trump says Biden “limped right through it, but he got through it.”

Harris encountered some of the toughest attacks she’s faced since becoming a candidate.

Trump says the Democratic race is “boiling down” to four or five of the more than 20 contenders for the party’s presidential nomination.


4:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he would “prefer” his supporters not engage in a “send her back” chant directed toward Rep. Ilhan Omar, but that if they do he’ll still “love” them.

Trump reluctantly distanced himself from the chant after a rally two weeks ago, which followed racist tweets he sent against Omar and three other first-term lawmakers of color. Trump had suggested that if they didn’t like the U.S. they should return to where they came from, even though all four are American citizens. The chant at the Greenville, North Carolina, rally sparked widespread condemnation.

Trump says he’s unsure what he’ll do if supporters bring back the chant at an Ohio rally Thursday. He adds that regardless of what happens, his message to supporters is, “I love them.”


3:30 p.m.

Thousands of people have been lined up hours ahead of President Donald Trump’s evening rally in Cincinnati.

Nurse Cynthia Wells says there were some 150 people already there when she arrived a little after 8 a.m., nearly 11 hours before the rally.

The 63-year-old woman is attending her third Trump rally, saying she likes their “energy.”

She doesn’t expect to hear the “send her back!” chants about a Somali-born congresswoman from a July rally in North Carolina because Trump later expressed his disapproval. She says she won’t participate because that isn’t his message.

Robyn McGrail was celebrating her 44th wedding anniversary with husband Mike by attending their third Trump rally. She says if the chant begins, she’ll probably cheer because she loves her country and if they “don’t like America, they should leave.”


12:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s latest rally will be a test for both candidate and crowd.

The Cincinnati gathering Thursday night will be Trump’s first since his audience chanted “Send her back!” about a Somali-born congresswoman during a July rally in North Carolina, raising the prospect of a 2020 presidential campaign increasingly fought along racial lines.

The chant about Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota by a roaring Greenville crowd rattled Republicans.

Trump let the chant roll at the rally. Since then, he has issued incendiary tweets and a series of attacks on a veteran African American congressman and his predominantly black district in Baltimore.

Heightening the drama, Trump’s rally will come on the heels of two Democratic debates and will take place against a backdrop of simmering racial tension in Cincinnati.