During his campaign stop in Newtown, Bucks County, the president was conspicuously subdued, delivering one of his laziest, most bored-sounding rally speeches in recent memory. Lacking his standard energy and lib-owning peppiness, Trump sleepwalked his way through his prepared and ad-libbed remarks about how the Hunter Biden emails and foreign-dealings story was somehow the “biggest” story in the country, a country ravaged by Trump’s own mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis and an economic implosion.
He mocked The New York Times for having “apologized” to its readers for something or other. He accused his enemies during his self-described “little special speech” of trying to “silence his voice.” He spoke of “the riots,” the politicians who “let Minneapolis burn,” and the progressives and left-wing educators who wanted American schoolkids “indoctrinated” with history that put greater emphasis on matters such as the horrors of slavery. (His solution? “Patriotic education,” whatever that means.) He sneered at the crowd sizes former President Barack Obama was attracting recently, in support of the current Democratic nominee. And he, of course, mocked “Joe Biden, who’s not all there,” to the crowd’s giddy laughter.
He promised that a second term of his presidency would see more “tough on crime” policy and appointments, and in the same breath trashed Biden for championing the 1994 “crime bill” and for being too tough on crime and Black communities.
But it was all perfunctory and listless, exhibiting none of the hunger or drive that Trump has used to sell his MAGA rallies as rock concerts for cultural conservatives, maskless Fox Business fans, and zealous immigration restrictionists. “He’s been doing so many of these [recently]. You’d be tired, too,” one senior Trump 2020 aide told The Daily Beast near the end of this first rally. “The president hates [media] coverage of him sounding low-energy, though, so I expect this to change fast.”
By the time the second Pennsylvania event of the day rolled around, the president apparently got the memo and the aide was vindicated—but only somewhat.
At his second visit to the state on Saturday, Trump pulled himself out of his early-afternoon lethargy just in time for his swing through Reading, though his energy levels and rally flamboyance were still at best a facsimile of the wildest, most red-meat stops in his campaign.
And it was primarily just whining, and then some more whining.
The leader of the free world again groused, as is standard fare, about “corrupt news” and “fake news,” and about how the supposedly lefty “Big Tech” and Democrats and “RINOs” (Republicans In Name Only) “play dirty” to fight him and conservatives. Despite a newly minted 6-3 conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump complained about how he’s recently had to deal with “many, many disappointing decisions” from the highest court in the land, and that conservatives “don’t control the Supreme Court,” despite the fact that they do. He baselessly warned that liberals would “cheat” with the “ballots” to defeat him in the 2020 election.
Trump insisted he was “running against the left-wing media, the big tech giants… [and] some RINOs… RINOs are worse than the… sicko Democrats.”
And he went on yet another extended riff on “father and son” Joe and Hunter Biden, inspiring a round of “LOCK HIM UP” chants from the crowd. The president also referenced the elder Biden’s 2018 comments during which the former VP discussed a hypothetical about beating up Trump in school, and complained about an alleged double standard that’s applied when Trump discusses or encourages violent acts.
The president also made time for jokes, saying that his wife’s coronavirus infection put to bed long-running gossip that he and first lady Melania Trump don’t sleep in the same bed or live together. “Our great first lady tested positive,” the president reminded his audience. “At least those rumors that we don’t live together turned out to be false,” he said. “That’s the only good thing about her testing positive.”
For his third stop of the day, it was more of the same.
As the night fell on Butler, Pennsylvania, the president claimed there’s no better or more fun place to be “than a Trump rally,” to which the crowd of fans cheered. The president bashed the “nasty deep state,” and once again jeered at Biden for his “aviator glasses” and those “new eyes” of his.
When he wasn’t talking about how “the plague [had] come in from China” and wrecked the U.S. economy, he was accusing Biden and running mate Kamala Harris of wanting to “destroy Pennsylvania.”
And at the fourth Pennsylvania rally, in Montoursville, the president who has so often claimed all things MAGA are censored on social media, marveled at the news that Trump supporters had surrounded a Team Biden bus on a highway and were now “trending.”
“Anybody see the picture of their crazy bus driving down the highway? They are surrounded by like, hundreds of cars, and they’re all Trump flags all over the place,” the president celebrated.
“What a group… It's like a hot thing. See, that’s really No. 1 trending,” Trump added.