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Trump Rallies In Kansas


President Trump capped off a winning week with one of his favorite things - a rally. While Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as the newest associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump was off to Topeka. NPR's Tamara Keith traveled with the president and joins us now. Good morning, Tam.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: This rally was on the schedule before the final Kavanaugh vote. In fact, the president watched it from Air Force One. You were there, Tam. What was the reaction on the plane?

KEITH: Yeah. He wanted the reporters who were on the plane to watch him watching the final tally come in. And he gave a thumbs-up. After that, he took some questions. And a reporter asked him what message he had for the women out there who were feeling devastated by this result. And President Trump said that he didn't think there were any women like that.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Women were outraged at what happened to Brett Kavanaugh - outraged. And I think that's a total misnomer because the women, I feel, were, in many ways, stronger than the men in his favor. So you have a lot of women that are extremely happy, a tremendous number of women.

KEITH: That's an echo of something that he said at a rally last week in Mississippi, a rally where he turned on Christine Blasey Ford and really went after her and attacked her for her lapses in memory. And Trump said on the plane yesterday that he believed that that turn, that rally really helped push Brett Kavanaugh over the finish line.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And that's something that's being echoed in talking points across the Republican spectrum. Take us to the rally. This isn't your first Trump rally. And we've heard so much about how important the Supreme Court is to rank-and-file Republicans. Was that apparent in the crowd? Were these ralliers notably happier or more satisfied than Trump's crowds pre-Kavanaugh?

KEITH: Well, they definitely seemed to be in a good mood. But here's something that I found really fascinating. When President Trump talked about Kavanaugh, they cheered. When President Trump talked about how terrible the Democrats are, they went wild. Here is just an example of one of the many things that President Trump said.


TRUMP: You don't hand matches to an arsonist. And you don't give power to an angry, left-wing mob. And that's what they've become.


KEITH: There was really this sort of palpable, you know, hate-the-other-team feel that came about every time President Trump even just said the word Democrats. It was pretty remarkable.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm curious, Tam - a rally in Kansas isn't really something meant to, to use a campaign term, expand the map. This is his base. These are the people that he has already persuaded. Why go to Kansas?

KEITH: The president is going to a bunch of states where he won in a big way. One reason for that is he loves doing rallies where there are a lot of people who love him. But also, he is campaigning for Kris Kobach, who is running for governor there in Kansas. And even in red states, there are close congressional races. And there are a couple of them there in Kansas.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's NPR's Tamara Keith. Thank you so much, Tam.

KEITH: You're welcome.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.