President Donald Trump is firing up his base in the final days before the election, touring the country and putting on political rallies for various GOP candidates, but he’s worried that he’s lost momentum due to two domestic terrorists.
“I tell you we have gotten tremendous numbers, tremendous numbers of Republicans going out to vote,” he said to the Missouri crowd on Thursday.
“We did have two maniacs stop a momentum that was incredible because for seven days nobody talked about the elections. It stopped a tremendous momentum,” the president said, referring to the man who sent mail bombs to influential Trump critics and the man who killed 11 people in a Pittsburgh Synagogue.
The president tried to backtrack on his statement, saying that momentum doesn’t matter.
“More importantly, we have to take care of our people, and we don’t care about momentum when it comes to a disgrace like just happened to our country,” Trump said. “But it did nevertheless stop a certain momentum, and now the momentum is picking up.”
Watch the video below:
President Trump: "We did have two maniacs stop a momentum that was incredible, because for seven days nobody talked about the elections. It stopped a tremendous momentum." https://t.co/jH1nDWWlOG pic.twitter.com/lu5lyaVqyu
— The Hill (@thehill) November 2, 2018
Trump’s comments drew criticism from those who found them insensitive to the tragic events of last week. “Donald Trump is worried about losing momentum going into midterms as opposed to, you know, the victims,” tweeted Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand action, on Friday.
The president was also criticized earlier this week for making his trip to Pittsburgh after the tragedy into a video promoting himself and his family.
Even though he was upset about a loss in momentum, overall, Trump said he was impressed by the early turnout in the election so far, especially considering midterm elections historically produce lower voter turnout than presidential elections.
“These are the midterms. Nobody thought of the midterms as being that big a deal for years,” Trump said. “For years, nobody thought of the midterms. You know, you hear midterms, it’s like ‘let’s go to sleep,’ right?”
And Trump is right. According to the New York Times, 18 states have already surpassed their 2014 midterm turnout. Florida and Texas have already drawn in almost four million early ballots each.