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During his first rally since the State of the Union, Trump went after Joe Biden for his remarks during which he said the former president was crawling on his knees and begging for oil because the U.S. cut off Russian energy after it invaded Ukraine.
‘Joe Biden is the president of the most energy rich country on the planet, yet because of his party’s climate hysteria, what they believe on the planet, Biden locked down American oil and natural gas production,’ he said Saturday evening as he addressed a cold and windy Florence, South Carolina crowd.
Next, he said: ‘Now Biden is crawling around the globe on his knees begging and pleading for mercy from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela.’
Oil prices have doubled and nearly tripled as a result of U.S. sanctions against Russia. The result is record gas pump numbers and noticeably unhappy Americans.
In spite of intermittent rain and chilly winds, hundreds of Trump supporters gathered near the Florence Regional Airport in northeast South Carolina.
It was obvious that attendees were unhappy with the current state of the economy. Additionally to the signs and flags in support of the former president, the muddy grass was dotted with posters criticizing President Biden’s pervasive supply chain issues and the rising cost of goods.
Earlier this week, the Labor Department reported that inflation in February reached 7.9 percent, a 40-year high. And on top of all of that, gas prices have soared above $5.00 in many parts of the country.
It appeared that prices in Florence were right under $4.00 on Saturday.
‘Nobody’s so stupid,’ Trump said about Biden taking oil from foreign nations rather than tapping into American resources.
‘He’s also selling out the brave people of Cuba and Venezuela, groveling at the feet of the oil-rich and brutal Maduro regime,’ he continued.
‘They’re after Maduro and now all of a sudden they say listen, ‘Forget that. Forget what we’ve been saying for the last long time… Forget the last 15 years, we’d like to buy oil. We’d pay you any price you want. Please, please, please sell us some oil. Please sell us some oil, we don’t have any oil.’ He must think we are the stupidest people on earth, you know,’ Trump said.
He also said that Cuban oil is ‘no good’, claiming it’s ‘very heavy’.
‘We have the best oil in the world that’s sitting right – I call it liquid gold,’ Trump said to a rowdy crowd as temperatures dipped into the low 30s. ‘And we don’t want to take it from us. You know, it’s a big advantage we have over China – we have oil, they don’t; we have natural gas, they don’t; we have coal, they don’t.’
‘The entire world is laughing at the United States.’
Biden’s administration admitted to Americans that they would feel the pain of sanctions on Russia at the pump, which proved true immediately.
But Americans were already dissatisfied with price per gallon before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
As the attack enters its 17 day, President Vladimir Putin has shown no signs of being deterred by western sanctions, which has diminished the ruble.
Trump blasted Putin’s invasion as a ‘terrible atrocity’ though he did not mention the autocrat by name. The condemnation is a far cry from his heavily-criticized remarks calling Russia’s plan ‘genius’ late last month.
‘The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a terrible atrocity that should never have been allowed to happen or would have never happened. I know I speak for everyone here tonight. When I say we are praying for the proud people of Ukraine. They are going through hell,’ he said.
‘Make no mistake, however, that Russia would not have dared to annex one inch of territory. If I was in the White House. In fact, they never did it when I was there.’
He also said Biden is the worst president in U.S. history, as evident by his first year in office.
‘You could take the five worst presidents in American history and they would not have done the damage Joe Biden has done in just 13 months. We have a president representing our country at the most important time in history, who is physically and mentally challenged,’ the former president said in his first rally since the invasion.
He claimed Putin would never have attacked Ukraine during his presidency.
‘The fake news said my personality got us into a war. ‘I’m telling you, that guy’s going to get us into a war.’ But actually, my personality is what kept us out of war. I was the only president in nearly four decades who did not get America into any new conflicts.’ Trump claimed.
Also on Saturday, Trump attacked Biden as ‘physically and mentally challenged’.
Trump’s trip to South Carolina in support of GOP House candidates Katie Arrington and Russell Fry. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is also slated to attend.
The crowd broke into its first spirited chant shortly after 4 p.m. as the skies began to clear, cheering the anti-Biden phrase ‘Let’s Go Brandon.’
Trump took stage shortly after 7 p.m., after giving a brief interview to Right Side Broadcasting Network panning Biden for his handling of Ukraine and claiming the president’s treatment of Putin would embolden Chinese President Xi Jinping to take Taiwan.
‘It should have never happened – in million years this wouldn’t have happened. Putin just did what he wanted to do – he would not have done it with us… this was something that was not going to happen, or it would have happened in four years,’ Trump said.
‘Four years nothing – you know a lot of people are saying: ‘How come this didn’t take place during the four years that Trump was there?’ And you can say the same thing with China because that’ll be next with Taiwan. It’s a very sad situation.’
McMaster, up for re-election this November, criticized the Biden administration’s ‘weak’ handling of Russia’s war on Ukraine and lifted Trump up as a ‘bull elephant.’
‘Any who have doubts about the direness of our situation today need only look at the cost of food and fuel, at the southern border, at the consequences of unconstitutional unnecessary and destructive mandates issued from Washington, and at the plight of the Ukrainian people. This is a picture of American weakness,’ the governor said.
Arrington is challenging incumbent Rep. Nancy Mace, who scored a narrow victory over former Democrat Rep. Joe Cunningham in 2020 with Trump’s endorsement.
Arrington took the stage late in the afternoon, though fierce winds made her abandon the pages of her planned speech.
‘I’ve been waiting a couple of weeks for big daddy to come home,’ she said of Trump.
The Mace challenger also criticized her rival as ‘the Liz Cheney of the South.’
Fry is taking on Rep. Tom Rice, one of 10 Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump over the Capitol riot. Saturday’s rally is in Rice’s 7th Congressional District.
Fry’s speech featured a play on words, calling on voters to ‘Fry the Rice’ at the polls in June.
Two ex-Trump administration officials from South Carolina will be notably absent from the event — former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who served as the US Ambassador to the United Nations, and Mick Mulvaney, who was in the House of Representatives before serving as White House Chief of Staff.
Mulvaney quit the Trump administration the day after the January 6 attack on the Capitol last year.
Haley meanwhile has also waded into the upcoming South Carolina primaries on June 14 by endorsing Mace. She spoke at a fundraiser for the freshman congresswoman on Friday.
Mace, representing the Palmetto State’s 1st district, incurred Trump’s wrath after she broke with him following the Capitol riot, telling NBC the ex-president ‘put all of our lives at risk’ that day. She also said on the House floor that lawmakers ‘need to hold the president accountable.’ However, Mace did not vote to impeach him nor did she vote in favor of a bipartisan committee to investigate the insurrection.
Trump threw his support behind Arrington days after Haley backed Mace in early February. He previously backed Arrington, a former state lawmaker, for Mace’s seat in 2018. She narrowly defeated the district’s then-Republican incumbent in the GOP primary but went on to lose the general election to Cunningham.
The day after Trump endorsed Arrington, Mace video taped herself outside of Trump Tower in New York City reiterating her support for the former president and taking aim at her primary rival.
Mace said in the February 10 video she was one of Trump’s ‘earliest supporters’ and warned voters to only support Arrington ‘if you want to lose this seat once again in the midterm election cycle to Democrats,’ referring to her 2018 defeat.
Rice is among the Republican lawmakers who Trump has targeted over their January 6 impeachment vote.
Trump has so far endorsed eight challengers to sitting Republican lawmakers. Two are in South Carolina.
Fry, who currently serves in the State House of Representatives, recently released a controversial advertisement taking aim at Rice.
An actor portraying the GOP Congressman attends a ‘Villains Anonymous’ meeting that also included portrayals of the devil, Maleficent, Batman nemesis the Joker, Harry Potter character Dolores Umbridge — and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Trump took a swing at Mace and Rice in a Friday statement previewing his event in Florence.
‘Big rally in South Carolina this weekend. Will be honoring Katie Arrington, who is running against the absolutely horrendous Nancy Mace, and Russell Fry, who is likewise running against ‘doesn’t have a clue’ Tom Rice,’ he said through his Save America PAC
Later that day he announced his fourth rally of 2022, taking place in Commerce, Georgia at the end of March.
South Carolina’s two Republican senators, Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, did not attend the rally. While Graham is not up for reelection, Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, is.
Graham, one of Trump’s top allies in Congress, recently distanced himself from the former president’s comments calling Russia’s autocratic leader Vladimir Putin a ‘genius’ for his plan to invade Ukraine in late February.
Earlier this month Graham said Trump’s remark was a ‘mistake.’
Trump was given several chances to condemn the Russian leader during a Fox News interview on Friday night.
‘I got along with these people. I got along with them well,’ he said of his diplomatic relationship with Putin as well as the leaders of China and Iran.
‘That doesn’t mean they are good people. It doesn’t mean anything other than the fact that I understood them and perhaps they understood me — maybe they understood me even better.’
Meanwhile Putin’s forces have been bombarding Ukrainian cities for more than two weeks, since he personally ordered the attack on February 24.
The city of Mariupol has been under siege by Russian forces, who recently bombed a maternity hospital there while pregnant mothers and children were inside. Moscow officials have insisted there were no civilians, and photos of injured women desperately fleeing were staged with crisis actors.