President Trump visits Tupelo

His stop in the All America City was the first of two stops in support of interim U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith.

Posted: Nov 25, 2018 8:40 PM
Updated: Jul 1, 2019 10:18 AM

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — President Donald Trump was back to the same playbook he used for the midterm elections as he returned to the campaign trail Monday to try to keep a Mississippi Senate seat in GOP hands.

While Trump has stressed his desire for bipartisan cooperation in the days since Republicans lost control of the House, the president unleashed his usual rhetoric as he stumped for Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith against Democrat Mike Espy ahead of Tuesday's runoff election.

President Trump speaking in Tupelo during a rally for Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (Alvin Ivy)

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and President Trump arriving in Tupelo (Alvin Ivy)

President Trump speaking in Tupelo with Air Force One in the background (Alvin Ivy)

He told a crowd in Tupelo on Monday that the runoff would "decide whether we build on our extraordinary achievements or whether we empower the radical Democrats to obstruct our progress." He claimed Espy would "vote in total lockstep" with Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and "the legendary Maxine Waters," drawing resounding boos — even though Trump has said that Pelosi deserves to become the next House speaker and that he could even find Republican members to vote for her.

The comments underscore the president's willingness to cycle between insults and flattery depending on his purpose. And they foreshadow the messaging dissonance that could mark the next two years of his presidency as Trump faces a divided Congress after two years of Republican control. Trump has said he hopes to work with Democrats on bipartisan issues, such as infrastructure and prison reform, but has also warned he'll refuse to collaborate with them if they launch a flurry of investigations against him and his administration, as they have discussed.

Trump was in Mississippi holding a pair of campaign rallies for Hyde-Smith in an eleventh-hour effort to keep the seat in GOP hands. Hyde-Smith's runoff election against Espy, a former congressman and U.S. agriculture secretary, has been far closer than expected thanks to a series of racial controversies, including a photo that emerged of Hyde-Smith wearing a replica hat of a Confederate soldier, and a video in which she said she'd be "on the front row" if invited to a public hanging.

Before he left the White House on Monday, Trump said Hyde-Smith had "apologized" and "misspoke" and "felt very badly" about her comment.

If victorious, Espy would become Mississippi's first black senator since Reconstruction and its first Democrat elected to the Senate since 1982. Trump won 58 percent of the state's vote in 2016, and Hyde-Smith has tied herself closely to his presidency.

"I am honored to have President Trump's endorsement," she said Monday as the two appeared at a chilly outdoor rally at the airport in the northeastern city of Tupelo, best known as the birthplace of Elvis Presley.

Trump gave a shout-out to the "king of rock 'n' roll" after taking the stage and said that, when he was young, "other than the blond hair, they said I looked like Elvis."

Trump and Hyde-Smith were later flying to the Gulf Coast for a larger evening rally in Biloxi. Trump will also be participating in a discussion about prison and sentencing reform legislation while he's in the state.

Tuesday's winner will finish the final two years of the term begun by Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, who resigned in April because of health problems.

It's the last U.S. Senate race of the 2018 election season. Republicans held onto their slim majority in the Senate but lost control of the House. If Hyde-Smith emerges as the winner of Tuesday's runoff, the GOP would hold a 53-47 advantage in the Senate.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 28770

Reported Deaths: 1092
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds224739
DeSoto144216
Madison124234
Jones109149
Neshoba97070
Lauderdale89479
Rankin86012
Forrest82942
Harrison79410
Scott75715
Copiah58016
Leake56519
Jackson55716
Holmes53641
Wayne52212
Lee51816
Oktibbeha51625
Washington5129
Yazoo4786
Leflore47449
Warren46317
Lowndes45912
Lincoln43734
Lamar4317
Grenada3965
Pike39312
Monroe37529
Lafayette3684
Attala35523
Newton3329
Sunflower3216
Covington3175
Bolivar29813
Panola2956
Adams28018
Simpson2713
Chickasaw26418
Tate2648
Marion26311
Pontotoc2616
Jasper2516
Noxubee2478
Pearl River24532
Clay24410
Winston2446
Claiborne23910
Marshall2123
Smith21111
Clarke20424
Coahoma1906
Union1819
Walthall1794
Kemper17614
Yalobusha1667
Lawrence1621
Carroll16111
Humphreys1309
Itawamba1308
Tippah12711
Webster12610
Calhoun1244
Montgomery1242
Hancock12313
Tallahatchie1153
Jefferson Davis1074
Prentiss1003
Greene968
Jefferson963
Wilkinson929
Tunica903
Amite842
George753
Tishomingo731
Choctaw724
Quitman690
Perry634
Alcorn601
Stone541
Franklin392
Benton270
Sharkey270
Issaquena81
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4532143
Montgomery3875102
Mobile3797134
Tuscaloosa210739
Marshall162210
Lee124537
Shelby110923
Madison11047
Morgan10203
Walker87123
Franklin86314
Dallas8419
Elmore83614
Baldwin7359
Etowah64413
DeKalb6415
Butler60727
Chambers60027
Tallapoosa57269
Autauga55312
Unassigned50724
Russell5030
Lowndes45820
Lauderdale4576
Houston4464
Limestone4290
Cullman4114
Pike4075
Colbert3775
Bullock3649
Coffee3592
Barbour3331
Covington3327
St. Clair3192
Marengo29911
Hale29621
Escambia2936
Wilcox2848
Talladega2827
Calhoun2805
Sumter27912
Clarke2686
Dale2620
Jackson2522
Winston2373
Blount2181
Pickens2176
Chilton2152
Marion20613
Monroe2052
Choctaw19212
Randolph1889
Conecuh1866
Greene1788
Macon1778
Bibb1761
Perry1541
Henry1303
Crenshaw1243
Washington1027
Lawrence1000
Cherokee797
Lamar711
Geneva700
Fayette671
Clay612
Coosa571
Cleburne301
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