President Donald Trump is capping off a busy day by heaping praise on the newest Republican member of Congress and savaging Democrats he said are engaged in "demented hoaxes" like his impeachment trial.
Trump celebrated Van Drew's defection as a sign of cracks within the Democratic Party over impeachment, and he was expected to use the New Jersey rally to again paint the Senate trial as a purely partisan proceeding, aides said. Mr. Trump denied in a tweet that he had ever told Bolton that the aid was linked to probes of Democrats, "including the Bidens".
White House counsel Pat Cipollone, also part of the defense, added: "What they are asking you to do is to throw out a successful president on the eve of an election, with no basis, and in violation of the Constitution".
"Really pathetic how Fox News is trying to be so politically correct by loading the airwaves with Democrats like Chris Van Hollen, the no-name Senator from Maryland", Trump wrote on Twitter. Even in 2018, as a blue wave swept most of the state, Van Drew easily won the 2nd Congressional District Democratic primary despite progressives' complaints that they were steamrolled by party bosses. "We also reject Van Drew as our Congressman".
Trump's visit to Democratic-leaning New Jersey generated a boisterous audience that lined the streets to greet him during a critical moment in his presidency. The state has almost 1 million more registered Democrats than Republicans, and its congressional delegation in 2018 went from seven Democrats and five Republicans to 11 Democrats and one Republican.
The seaside resort town of Wildwood, usually dead quiet in January, saw a short boom from the rally. Some attendees camped out 48 hours in advance to ensure a spot inside the convention center.
"They're fake. They're not honest", Trump said.
Watch the rally live above, or join New Jersey 101.5 in our Facebook Live chat of the event. We have tens of thousands of people outside.