President Donald Trump will rally his supporters for the second day in a row on Thursday when his re-election campaign charges into the tough electoral terrain of Colorado. Follow for updates.
Trump talks Space Force with Colorado governor
President Donald Trump hasn’t even taken the stage for his Colorado rally, but Space Force is already in the news.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who met with the president aboard Air Force One, said in a statement that he urged Trump to make Colorado the permanent home of U.S. Space Command headquarters.
Polis, a Democrat, said noted that the state is already home to multiple space-related installations. Colorado Springs is also home to the U.S. Air Force Academy.
“Colorado is the perfect home for Space Command and I was excited to have the opportunity to remind President Trump why that’s true,” Polis said in a statement.
Space Force, which Trump launched last year, generally wins large applause lines at Trump’s rallies.
“I have achieved more than I promised,” Trump told a rally crowd last month in New Jersey. “I never told you about Space Force; we got Space Force!”
— John Fritze and Trevor Hughes
Trump touches down in Colorado
Air Force One touched down at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs shortly 5 p.m. EST. He had a meeting on board the plane with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis before getting into his motorcade, the White House said.
The rally is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. EST
Trump engaged in a little debate talk with supporters who greeted him at the airport.
The president asked one of the assembled supporters how he thought New York Michael Bloomberg did in the debate.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Trump said.
“You won that debate, sir!” another one shouted.
— David Jackson and John Fritze
Trump adds South Carolina rally to packed schedule
President Donald Trump’s campaign has added another rally to his schedule: A South Carolina event that will take place on the eve of that state’s primary election.
Underscoring the it’s-getting-real nature of the president’s election-year schedule, Trump scheduled three rallies this week: The Colorado event for tonight, a Phoenix rally that took place Wednesday and Las Vegas for Friday.
He now has booked a rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, on Feb. 28 and Charlotte, N.C., on the night before Super Tuesday.
Trump was last in the Palmetto State for a criminal justice reform event in October — and he last took a rally stage there in 2018.
– John Fritze
Trump talks Stone ahead of rally
Before departing for Colorado, President Donald Trump spoke to a prisoner graduation ceremony in Las Vegas – and signaled he would not immediately pardon his friend and longtime ally Roger Stone.
“I’m going to watch the process, I’m going to watch it very closely,” Trump said hours after Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison for lying to Congress and obstructing the Russia investigation.
“And at some point I will make a determination,” Trump said.
Trump said that “everybody has to be treated fairly. And this has not been a fair process.”
The president’s past remarks on Stone – and his recent tweets – have added to speculation that a pardon is in the works. Trump is on a campaign swing in western states this week.
“I’d love to see Roger Stone exonerated,” Trump added.
– John Fritze and Michael Collins
Huge crowd lines up in near-freezing temps
Thousands of supporters, many in red Trump-branded shirts or hats, waited in the near-freezing temperature for the Colorado Springs rally to begin. A large screen played campaign advertisements and videos telling his supporters that only Trump can be trusted to make the right decisions for Americans.
Scattered chants of “lock her up” and “four more years” broke out periodically in the hours before the president arrived, and dozens of merchants sold flags, stickers and knit Trump hats as a “voter registration strike force” circulated, clipboards in hand.
Attendees said they came to pay respects to the president they credit with strengthening our economy and borders, and supporting the military, a popular cause in this city home to Fort Carson, the Cheyenne Mountain doomsday facility, and Peterson and Schriever Air Force bases.
“The economy, for sure, and security and the border, too,” said Kathy Hodge, 59, a civilian security guard at one of the bases, of her support for the president. “But jobs, jobs and jobs.”
A video repeatedly reminded attendees that as a private event, protesters are not allowed inside, and that anyone who interrupts the president should be surrounded by supporters yelling “Trump, Trump, Trump.”
Many attendees rejected the idea that Republicans and the president are racist, instead arguing that political correctness has just gone too far.
“I don’t care about the rhetoric. He’s doing what I put my confidence in,” said Rick Bowhay, 61. “I think it’s time for Americans to stand up and not take this pablum, puking political correctness they keep trying to slide us into. I am proud of my heritage and my country.”
Bowhay, who is unemployed and living in a nearby shelter, said he attended the rally to show support for the president’s actions. He said thought it was important for conservatives like him to show their support for the president at a time when he believes Democrats are trying to buy votes from African-Americans by talking about offering reparations for the country‘s history of slavery.
“I was all for equality until the Democrats and the socialists came to me and said we have to pay them back. It’s just all about the votes,” he said. ”They’re trying to flip the script so that we become dependent on the government. And this country was founded on freedom.”
– Trevor Hughes
Trump headed to Colorado
WASHINGTON – President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will speak at a “Keep America Great” rally in Colorado Springs, the home turf of evangelical Christians who make up an important part of his political base. The rally starts at 7 p.m. ET at the Broadmoor World Arena.
Colorado Springs may be friendly territory for Trump, but the state is expected to once again be an important battleground in this year’s presidential contest. Trump lost Colorado to Democrat Hillary Clinton by 5 percentage points in 2016.
Trump will be joined on stage by Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican who is facing a difficult re-election. Gardner voted to acquit Trump after his Senate impeachment trial earlier this month, a decision that earned him kudos from Trump but one that Democrats will use to throttle him in his upcoming race.
The Colorado Springs rally comes on the third day of a four-day swing through western states in which Trump is mixing campaign stops with official White House events.
Trump tried to steal the spotlight Wednesday by staging a rally in Phoenix at the same time Democrats seeking their party’s presidential nomination were debating in Las Vegas. He has scheduled another rally for Friday in Las Vegas on the eve of Nevada’s presidential caucuses.