President Donald Trump told a crowd of thousands Thursday that Democrats want to “annihilate” the Texas economy.
The crowd chanted, cheered and booed along with Trump’s 75-minute speech at a Keep America Great Rally in the American Airlines Center. Trump walked onto stage at about 7:45 p.m. as “Proud to be an American” roared from the arena’s speakers.
He began by talking about the opening of a Louis Vuitton workshop in Johnson County, where he spoke several hours earlier. He said 775,000 jobs have been created in Texas since he was elected in 2016.
The president gave shout-outs to Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, and U.S. Reps. Kay Granger of Fort Worth and Ron Wright of Arlington, among others.
“You have a great governor from your state,” Trump said. “He’s a great, great man.”
After Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Trump said, Patrick and Abbott “kept calling me for money.” He said he paid billions and billions of dollars to the state and Patrick and Abbott thanked him “for being so generous to Texas.”
“You made a fortune on that hurricane,” Trump said to them.
When discussing the United State’s military, he referred to the production of the F-35 at Lockheed Martin, saying that many of the military’s planes are made “right here, right here in Fort Worth.”
The crowd cheered.
Since his election, Trump said, natural gas production has increased 35% and oil production is up 60%. He boasted the United States is the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas in the world.
However, he said, Democrats want to change that.
“Every major Democrat running for president wants to abolish production of natural gas and oil,” he said.
Instead, they want to replace oil and natural gas with windmills, he said, referencing many of the candidates’ promise for clean energy.
”In other words, they want to annihilate your Texas economy,” he said.
He also attacked Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke, calling him a “flail-er,” referring to his “flailing” arms. He referenced O’Rourke’s gun policies and his pledge to remove tax exemptions from churches that oppose gay marriage. O’Rourke also previously proposed a mandatory gun buyback, drawing ire from both Republicans and Democrats.
“So Democrats want, no guns, no religion, no oil, no natural gas,” Trump said. “Abraham Lincoln could not win Texas under those circumstances.”
O’Rourke held a counter-rally in Grand Prairie Thursday evening, calling for people to stand up against the fear that he says Trump has brought to America.
In the 2018 election, O’Rourke lost to Cruz in the U.S. Senate race, but had more votes than him in historically red Tarrant County. The close race has many thinking about the possibility of Texas turning blue.
Trump’s take? Not possible.
“People are saying Texas isn’t red,” he said. “I know something about Texas. Donald Trump is not going to lose Texas, I can tell you that.”
As for Trump, he appeared confident that Texas voters will show up for him, just as they did at Thursday night’s rally.
“Loyal citizens like you have built this country and we are giving back power to people like you, the American people,” he said. “From Dallas to El Paso, from Houston to El Paso, from the Red River to the Rio Grande, this state was settled by the toughest men and strongest women ever to walk on the face of the earth.”