President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE on Tuesday used a taxpayer-funded trip to mock his potential 2020 Democratic rivals.
Speaking at a liquified natural gas facility near Lake Charles, La., Trump singled out former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.).
“Boy, you got some beauties there. Three hundred fifty million people and that’s the best we can do. I don’t think so,” he quipped.
Past presidents generally refrained from injecting partisan politics into official White House events paid for with public funds, but Trump has frequently broken that norm during his time in office.
The president joked about the dynamic last August when he noted how many reporters traveled with him to Charlotte, N.C., for a bill signing during the lead-up to the midterm elections, saying “it’s like a political event and you don’t even have to pay for it.”
Taxpayers also foot the bill for the president’s political travel, but the costs are typically reimbursed by his campaign or related PAC. Trump is attending a pair of fundraisers later on Tuesday in nearby Metairie, La.
Trump was touting his record on jobs and the economy during his official speech, when he launched into the attacks against Democrats vying for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination, saying, “You dream about competition like that.”
He sounded out Buttigieg’s name as “Boot-edge-edge” and took note of O’Rourke’s dive in the polls by recalling the former congressman’s assertion to Vanity Fair that he was “born to be in it.”
“Beto’s falling fast. What the hell happened? Remember about four weeks ago he said, ‘I was made for for this.’ He was made for it. He was made to fall like a rock,” Trump said.
The president also dismissed O’Rourke’s attempt to “reboot” his campaign, saying “that generally doesn’t work out too well.”
Trump also repeated his belief that Sanders has an edge on Biden, even though most polls show the former vice president is the clear front-runner in the Democratic primary field.
“I don’t know what the hell happened to Biden. What happened to him? I’m looking, I said, ‘That doesn’t look like the guy I knew,’” Trump said, before adding, “Bernie’s crazy. But Bernie’s got a lot more energy than Biden, so you never know.”
He then took a swipe at the self-professed democratic socialist, saying, “Bernie’s got a lot of energy but it’s energy to get rid of your jobs.”
The president predicted his Democratic opponent in 2020 would be “one of these people” and not Warren, whom he referred to by the derisive nickname “Pocahontas.” Trump said the Massachusetts senator “is probably out.”
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