President Donald Trump’s Thursday speech was billed as official White House event but his talking points sounded more like something out of a reelection rally.
Trump delivered scathing critiques on Democrats, railing against “impeachment crap” and floating an apparently baseless conspiracy about the the pharmaceutical industry’s potential role in the impeachment inquiry.
Trump’s opening remarks at the event in The Villages, Florida, began with him touting how well he did in the area during the 2016 election, saying he got nearly 100% of their vote. And ahead of his signing of a Medicare-related executive order, Trump attacked Democrats over their various proposals on universal health care, the economy and immigration.
“They may go by different names like single-payer or the so-called public option,” Trump said. “They want to raid Medicare to fund a thing called socialism.”
“Every one of these plans involves rationing care … slashing quality and massively raising taxes. They also want to have open borders,” he said. (No Democrats running for President have called for open borders.)
The President also suggested, seemingly off the cuff and without any supporting evidence, that drug companies were to blame for the “hoax” that has led to an impeachment inquiry.
“We’re lowering the cost of prescription drugs, taking on the pharmaceutical companies and you think that’s easy?” the President asked.
“They come at you from all sides,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the hoax didn’t come a little bit from some of the people we’ve been taking on. They’re very powerful, they spent a lot of money. Spent, I think, more money than any other group in the world, actually. In terms of lobbying, and lobbying abilities.”
Trump said he “wouldn’t be surprised if some of the nonsense that we all have to go through, that I have to go through, wouldn’t be surprised if it was from these, some of these industries that we take on like pharmaceuticals because, I don’t care.”
White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere, asked if Trump was serious about his claim, said: “Of course big PhARMA is threatened by this President’s push to get drug prices even lower.”
“If Congress would join this President and work to lower prescription drug costs it would benefit all Americans,” he added.
The President strayed off script several times, touching on topics ranging from Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the candidacies of Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden and impeachment.
He referred to some Democrats, including Warren, as “maniacs.”
When the crowd began chanting “four more years,” Trump’s responded: “You want to drive them crazy? Don’t do four more years. Say eight more years.”
“Sixteen would do it good. You’d really drive them into the loony bin,” he added. “And that’s why they do the impeachment crap, because they know they can’t beat us fairly.”