'You have no choice but to vote for me': Trump defends economy at rally

President Donald Trump spoke for around an hour and a half at Thursday's New Hampshire campaign rally, running through a litany of topics, including talking up the economy amid growing concerns of a potential rescission, taking familiar jabs at 2020 Democrats and raising the issue of gun control despite not specifically mentioning any clear plan or measure.

But perhaps most noteworthy was what the president didn't say: No direct mention of Israel blocking Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib from entering the country.

However, the president did mention Omar briefly during his sprawling speech Thursday night in front of a raucous crowd at the SNHU Arena.

"They're all expanding. The steel industry is back. It's doing great. We're opening up mines in Minnesota, the great state of Minnesota, they're magnificent mines that have the best iron ore in the world," the president said, before mentioning the Democratic representative from Minnesota. "And President Obama closed them down. Maybe we can get representative Omar from Minnesota to open them up. But I don't think so. She'll open them up, I don't think so. Rep. Omar, that's another one," Trump added, before quickly jumping back to talking trade policy.

And as stocks rebounded from the worst day on Wall Street this year and amid fears the United States might be inching closer to a recession in the coming months, the president still touted the economy. "The United States right now has the hottest economy anywhere in the world," the president said, adding that the markets went up "thousands of points" since he won the election.

The president's pitch to New Hampshire voters was simple Thursday night: Who else are you going to vote for?

"I know you like me and this room is a love fest. I know that, but you have no choice but to vote for me, because your 401(k)'s down the tubes, everything's going to be down the tubes," Trump said.

"If for some reason I wouldn't have won the election, these markets would have crashed, and that'll happen even more so in 2020," the president said.

Trump also took familiar jabs as his potential 2020 Democratic opponents.

The president ran down a list of candidates including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke and former Vice President Joe Biden, who received most of his venom.

"What about a sleepy Joe Biden rally? Right? Boy, he's made some beauties," the president said, referring to the former vice president's past gaffes. "I sort of hope it's him."

"I don't mind any of them. You got Pocahontas is rising," Trump said, using the derogatory nickname he bestowed on Warren. "You got Kamala, Kamala is falling. You got Beto. Beto is like, gone."

The president, who delayed additional tariffs on certain Chinese goods this week, stated China was "eating the tariffs" and pushed claims that "prices haven't gone up." But economists insist the China trade war has hit both sides as the tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports are passed on to American businesses and, through price increases, to U.S. consumers

He applauded farmers, who have been caught in the crossfire of the escalating trade war as China has asked its importers to halt agriculture purchases.

"Our great farmers have been so incredible, because they've been targeted by China," the president said.

The president's latest "Keep America Great" rally marks what the Trump campaign said will be its first big step in ensuring what it couldn't do in 2016: Flip the Granite State red.

Losing New Hampshire in 2016 has appeared to be a sore spot for the president, but the reelection team said it's confident he will carry the state in 2020 despite potential indicators otherwise.

"New Hampshire is absolutely part of our winning strategy," Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign's communications director, told ABC News.

The campaign also hopes to flip New Mexico, Nevada, Minnesota and Oregon.

And the president's New Hampshire loss won't be the only 2016 relic hovering over the rally on Thursday: Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has said he's "seriously considering" a 2020 Senate run in the Granite State. And Lewandowski is set to travel on Air Force One Thursday for the rally, with rumors swirling about a possible announcement.

The president will make his case to voters in New Hampshire, a state with a serious independent streak, on the heels of ramping up divisive rhetoric and as critics and 2020 Democratic candidates have blamed that rhetoric for inspiring violence against minorities, including the recent massacre in El Paso, Texas.

And while the president lost New Hampshire by fewer than 3,000 votes, in 2020 it could be a taller task as Democrats have flipped the state's House and Senate since 2016.

The president's support remains underwater but steady in New Hampshire, with a 53% disapproval rating, a 42% approval rating contrasted and 5% unsure, according to a recent University of New Hampshire poll.

Trump's campaign said the president is banking on appealing to voters in New Hampshire by pushing for more manufacturing jobs and by touting steps he's taken toward battling the opioid epidemic, in addition to the economy.

"We are working to retain the supporters and voters that he had in 2016, and bring in new ones," Murtaugh said.

Just two weeks after winning in 2016 but losing New Hampshire, Trump tweeted that there was "serious voter fraud" there.

After taking office, the president created a short-lived Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity that found no evidence of widespread voter fraud, according to a former member of the Trump administration's now-disbanded commission.

The president's campaign declined to comment to ABC News when asked whether Trump still believes he lost the state because of voter fraud.
Related topics:
abc newsnational
Copyright © 2019 ABC News Internet Ventures.