U.S. President Donald Trump used a rally on Friday night in Lake Charles to nationalize Louisiana’s 2019 gubernatorial election.
On the eve of election day, President Trump held a rally to endorse Republican candidates, businessman Eddie Rispone and Rep. Ralph Abraham. Incumbent Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards aims to win 50% of the vote to win his second term. However, Trump urged voters to show up to the polls Saturday and force Edwards into a runoff election.
"Louisiana cannot take four more years of a Democratic governor taking your money," Trump said. "Tomorrow you've got to vote John Bel Edwards out."
Trump deemed Edwards an enemy of the people of Louisiana due to tax increase that, according to Trump, hurt the job market across the state. He noted that Edwards, while slightly moderate, is still a Democrat, and therefore an enemy of the “hundreds of rock-ribbed patriots” who came to the rally.
Trump noted that he is aware Louisiana has a large football game that will take many people’s attention away from voting.
"I want you to enjoy the game, [LSU vs. Florida] but I don't want you to enjoy the game if you don't vote first," Trump said.
Trump attacked all allegations of any wrongdoing on his part that would lead to a “bullshit impeachment”. In doing so, Trump blasted Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Adam Schiff and potential 2020 nominees. He also accused the news media of being an ally of the Democratic Party, and colluding against him.
The Reveille talked to Press Secretary of the 2020 campaign, Kayleigh McEnany, who gave information about not only Trump’s agenda, but also his character and the importance of Louisiana electing a Republican governor.
According to McEnany, Trump understands that the cost of college is an excessive financial burden that affects too many college Americans. Therefore, he intends to lessen that burden through adherence to “free-market principals”.
In reference to Trump’s antagonistic rhetoric, McEnany told the Reveille that she finds Trump to be a “fighter” who “fights back when he’s attacked.”
"He’s been ruthlessly attacked by the media,” McEnany said.
When asked about why Trump has pushed so hard to endorse turning Louisiana into a red state, even though John Bel Edwards has been quoted as Trump’s “favorite Democrat” and is notoriously conservative, McEnany explained that Edwards is not conservative enough.
“We want an ally that’s going to be a complete ally. A true ally means electing one of the Republicans,” McEnany said.
Edwards is currently, according to a poll from We Ask America, leading the polls at 47%, while Rispone has 23%, and Abraham has 17%. In the event Edwards does reach 50% on Saturday, Edwards and the candidate that earns the second highest number of votes will go to a runoff election in November.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry also spoke to the Reveille about what he believes President Trump’s visit meant to Louisiana and how it will affect the election on Saturday.
“First of all, I think it spotlights the fact that Louisiana means so much to the President,” Landry said. “How great is it that the President of the United States has come into Louisiana not just once, but twice this year.”
“What we’re hoping it means is come tomorrow evening we’re going to all be victorious and we’re going to have a runoff in the governor’s race, and we’ll have one Republican candidate, and hopefully, that means we’ll have a Republican Governor,” Landry said.
Landry, along with U.S. Sens. John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy, addressed the crowd prior to Trump's speech.
"I told you, Louisiana: Donald J. Trump loves Louisiana like the devil loves sin," Kennedy said.
Trump arrived at the Lake Charles Civic Center 35 minutes after he was set to begin. He was accompanied by the Little League champions who are from the New Orleans area, who he flew to Lake Charles with him on Air Force One.