The White House:
Michael Collins, USA TODAY
Published 6: 15 p.m. ET Nov. 4, 2019 | Updated 9: 11 p.m. ET Nov. 4, 2019
More split than any time in 50 years, US voters will decide, a year from now, whether President Donald Trump will win his second term. AP Washington Bureau Chief Julie Pace looks ahead to the 2020 campaign. (Nov. 4)
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Monday cited a confrontation between a group of Kentucky Catholic high school students and Native American activists earlier this year as evidence that the “far left” is trying to impose an “authoritarian ideology” on the nation.
“They want to indoctrinate your children, destroy anyone who holds traditional American values,” Trump warned at a political rally in Lexington, Ky.
Rallying on the eve of an election that will decide governors races in two states,Trump urged Kentuckians to re-elect their GOP governor, Matt Bevin, and send a signal “to the rest of the world that the Republican Party – you know what we stand for.”
In the audience at Monday’s rally in Rupp Arena, Trump said, were some students from Covington Catholic High School. The school was the subject of a video that went viral in January after an exchange between some of its students and Native American activists in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
The video showed Covington Catholic junior Nick Sandmann, wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, standing in front of a Native American elder, Nathan Phillips, as a large group of students jumped and clapped to the beat of Philipps’ drum. Sandmann was slammed on social media because people thought he was being disrespectful to Phillips.
Additional videos of the confrontation emerged a day later showing a group of Black Hebrew Israelites taunting the students before Phillips and several supporters got between the two groups, casting more questions about who instigated the episode.
An investigation commissioned by the Diocese of Covington exonerated the students and concluded they did not instigate the exchange. Sandmann has filed a $250 million lawsuit against The Washington Post over its coverage of the exchange.
At Monday night’s rally, Trump argued that “radical Democrats” want to “obliterate” the rule, confiscate guns and destroy the Second Amendment.
Kentucky is one of several states in which voters will head to the polls on Tuesday.
In Mississippi, Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood faces Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves in the state’s gubernatorial election. In Louisiana, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards is running against Republican businessman Eddie Rispone in a Nov. 16 gubernatorial election.
Trump rallied Friday in Mississippi and will travel Wednesday to Louisiana.
All three states are solidly Republican in presidential elections but have frequently elected both Democratic and Republican governors in recent years. Still, Trump will almost certainly claim credit for any Republican victories in those states, and his critics will parse the results for any sign of the president’s weakness heading into 2020.
“How is this guy – you know I can’t believe this is a competitive race? It’s like embarrassing,” Trump carped at the audience in Tupelo, Miss., on Friday. “I’m talking to Mississippi. You know I’m talking to Mississippi.”
Michael Collins covers the White House. Reach him @mcollinsNEWS.
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