Published 8:59 PM EDT Oct 4, 2018
WASHINGTON – As he and aides brace for a pivotal Senate debate on Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump told supporters Thursday that voters across the country will reject Democratic attempts to "destroy" his Supreme Court nominee.
"Their rage-fueled resistance is starting to backfire," Trump said during a political rally in Rochester, Minnesota, claiming that polls in several states show Republicans moving up in their efforts to keep control of Congress.
With Election Day coming up Nov. 6, both parties have begun using the Kavanaugh nomination as an issue in House and Senate races across the country.
The Republicans, including Trump, say the treatment of Kavanaugh will galvanize GOP voters and bring more of them to the polls. Democrats say it is their voters who are motivated to get out against Republicans who support a Supreme Court nominee credibly accused of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior.
"The Kavanaugh hearings and Republicans' indifference to sexual assault have energized women voters – especially younger women voters – more than any issue in recent memory," said Democratic consultant Lis Smith. "The GOP seems determined to turn the gender gap into a gender chasm."
At his rally in Minnesota, Trump lauded Kavanaugh as a "brilliant" judge who is being unfairly accused because he is a Republican.
Employing some of his harshest rhetoric against the opposition party, Trump said Democrats are willing "to do anything, to hurt anyone, to get the power they so desperately crave ... They want to resist, they want to obstruct, they want to delay demolish, they want to destroy."
Trump did not criticize Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, as he did during a similar rally Tuesday night in Mississippi.
Several senators, including Republicans who are undecided about Kavanaugh, denounced Trump for his mocking impression of Ford discussing her testimony about sexual assault.
Given the nearly united Democratic opposition, Trump and aides are trying to win Kavanaugh's confirmation by focusing on undecided Republican senators, particularly Jeff Flake of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Trump visited Minnesota the night before a key procedural vote in the Senate on Friday morning that will test whether Kavanaugh has a majority of votes needed for confirmation.
A final confirmation vote in the Senate could take place over the weekend.
Trump left the White House for Minnesota hours after being briefed on an updated background of check of Kavanaugh. The White House received the report from the FBI in the wee hours of Thursday and transmitted it to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which had held hearings on the nominee.
Democrats called the FBI investigation inadequate and incomplete, and said senators still lack sufficient information on the sexual assault claims against Kavanaugh. Opponents also said Kavanaugh lied about various items during his confirmation hearings.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations, saying political opponents have targeted him.
Trump and many Republican senators said nothing in the FBI report incriminates Kavanaugh, and they are pushing for a vote as soon as possible.
During the Minnesota rally, Trump said voters "are going to reject the Democrat politics of anger and destruction."
In a wide-ranging stump speech, Trump also attacked critics of his policies ranging from trade to Russia to North Korea, and, as usual, he reserved special scorn for the news media.
"These people are loco, I tell you," Trump said.