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Comedian Draws Laughs, Gasps at Correspondents’ Dinner

If President Donald Trump isn’t comfortable being the target of jokes, comedian Michelle Wolf gave him and others plenty of reasons to squirm Saturday night.

“It’s 2018 and I’m a woman, so you cannot shut me up,” Wolf cracked, “unless you have Michael Cohen wire me $130,000.”

No, Trump’s personal attorney wasn’t there. And, for the second year, Trump himself skipped the annual dinner of the White House Correspondents’ Association, preferring to criticize journalists and others during a campaign-style rally near Detroit.

Wolf, the after-dinner entertainment for the White House press corps and their guests, was surprisingly racy for the venue and seemed more at home on HBO than C-SPAN. After one crass joke drew groans in the Washington Hilton ballroom, she laughed and said, “Yeah, shoulda done more research before you got me to do this.”

​Trump in Michigan

As he did last year, Trump flew to a Republican-friendly district to rally supporters on the same night as the dinner. In Washington Township, Michigan, the president assured his audience he’d rather be there than in that other city by that name.

“Is this better than that phony Washington White House Correspondents’ Dinner? Is this more fun?” Trump asked, sparking cheers.

“I could be up there tonight, smiling, like I love where they’re hitting you, shot after shot. These people, they hate your guts … and you’ve got to smile. If you don’t smile, they say, ‘He was terrible, he couldn’t take it.’ And if you do smile, they’ll say, “What was he smiling about?’”

Wolf’s act had some in the audience laughing and left others in stony silence. A blistering critique of press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was seated just feet away, mocked everything from her truthfulness to her appearance and Southern roots.

Among Wolf’s less offensive one-liners:

“Just a reminder to everyone, I’m here to make jokes, I have no agenda, I’m not trying to get anything accomplished, so everyone that’s here from Congress you should feel right at home.”
“It is kinda crazy that the Trump campaign was in contact with Russia when the Hillary campaign wasn’t even in contact with Michigan.”
“He wants to give teachers guns, and I support that because then they can sell them for things they need like supplies.”

Dimmed star power

The dinner once attracted Oscar winners and other notable performers in film and television as well as celebrities in sports and other high-profile professions. The star power dimmed appreciably last year when the famously thin-skinned Trump, who routinely slammed reporters as dishonest and their work as “fake news,” announced he wasn’t attending. He was the first president to skip the event since Ronald Reagan bowed out in 1981 as he recovered from an assassination attempt.

Unlike last year, when Trump aides also declined to attend, the Trump White House had its contingent, including counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Former administration officials were on hand, such as onetime press secretary Sean Spicer, ex-chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and political aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman.

At least one Trump antagonist attended — porn star Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti, who tweeted that he and Conway had a “spirited discussion.” And there was comedian Kathy Griffin, who last year posted controversial video of herself holding what appeared to be Trump’s bloody head; she later apologized.

Comedian Draws Laughs, Gasps at Correspondents’ Dinner

If President Donald Trump isn’t comfortable being the target of jokes, comedian Michelle Wolf gave him and others plenty of reasons to squirm Saturday night.

“It’s 2018 and I’m a woman, so you cannot shut me up,” Wolf cracked, “unless you have Michael Cohen wire me $130,000.”

No, Trump’s personal attorney wasn’t there. And, for the second year, Trump himself skipped the annual dinner of the White House Correspondents’ Association, preferring to criticize journalists and others during a campaign-style rally near Detroit.

Wolf, the after-dinner entertainment for the White House press corps and their guests, was surprisingly racy for the venue and seemed more at home on HBO than C-SPAN. After one crass joke drew groans in the Washington Hilton ballroom, she laughed and said, “Yeah, shoulda done more research before you got me to do this.”

​Trump in Michigan

As he did last year, Trump flew to a Republican-friendly district to rally supporters on the same night as the dinner. In Washington Township, Michigan, the president assured his audience he’d rather be there than in that other city by that name.

“Is this better than that phony Washington White House Correspondents’ Dinner? Is this more fun?” Trump asked, sparking cheers.

“I could be up there tonight, smiling, like I love where they’re hitting you, shot after shot. These people, they hate your guts … and you’ve got to smile. If you don’t smile, they say, ‘He was terrible, he couldn’t take it.’ And if you do smile, they’ll say, “What was he smiling about?’”

Wolf’s act had some in the audience laughing and left others in stony silence. A blistering critique of press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was seated just feet away, mocked everything from her truthfulness to her appearance and Southern roots.

Among Wolf’s less offensive one-liners:

“Just a reminder to everyone, I’m here to make jokes, I have no agenda, I’m not trying to get anything accomplished, so everyone that’s here from Congress you should feel right at home.”
“It is kinda crazy that the Trump campaign was in contact with Russia when the Hillary campaign wasn’t even in contact with Michigan.”
“He wants to give teachers guns, and I support that because then they can sell them for things they need like supplies.”

Dimmed star power

The dinner once attracted Oscar winners and other notable performers in film and television as well as celebrities in sports and other high-profile professions. The star power dimmed appreciably last year when the famously thin-skinned Trump, who routinely slammed reporters as dishonest and their work as “fake news,” announced he wasn’t attending. He was the first president to skip the event since Ronald Reagan bowed out in 1981 as he recovered from an assassination attempt.

Unlike last year, when Trump aides also declined to attend, the Trump White House had its contingent, including counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Former administration officials were on hand, such as onetime press secretary Sean Spicer, ex-chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and political aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman.

At least one Trump antagonist attended — porn star Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti, who tweeted that he and Conway had a “spirited discussion.” And there was comedian Kathy Griffin, who last year posted controversial video of herself holding what appeared to be Trump’s bloody head; she later apologized.

At Michigan Rally, Trump Takes Aim at Familiar Targets

President Donald Trump took aim at familiar political targets and added a few fresh ones during a campaign-style rally Saturday night in an Upper Midwest state that gave him a surprising victory in the 2016 election.

Trump has been urging voters to support Republicans for Congress as a way of advancing his agenda. In his rally in Washington Township, he repeatedly pointed to Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan as one of the Democrats who needed to be voted out.

After saying Stabenow was standing in the way of protecting U.S. borders and had voted against tax cuts, Trump said: “And you people just keep putting her back again and again and again. It’s your fault.”

​‘I know things about Tester’

Earlier Saturday, Trump tweeted criticism of Democratic Senator Jon Tester of Montana over his role in the failed nomination of White House doctor Ronny Jackson to run the Department of Veterans Affairs, calling for Tester to resign or at least not be re-elected this fall.

In his rally remarks, Trump railed against the allegations Tester aired against Jackson and suggested that he could take a similar tack against the senator.

“I know things about Tester that I could say, too. And if I said ’em, he’d never be elected again,” Trump said without elaborating.

As he has at similar events, Trump promoted top agenda items that energize grass-roots conservatives: appointing conservative judges, building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, ending “sanctuary cities” and protecting tax cuts approved by the Republican-led Congress. He also took credit for the warming relations between North and South Korea, telling his audience “we’ll see how it goes.”

Wall funding or a shutdown

Trump also threatened to shut down the federal government in September if Congress did not provide more funding to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

“That wall has started, we have 1.6 billion (dollars),” Trump said. “We come up again on September 28th and if we don’t get border security we will have no choice, we will close down the country because we need border security.”

Trump made a similar threat in March to push for changes in immigration law that he says would prevent criminals from entering the country. The government briefly shut down in January over immigration.

A $1.3 trillion spending bill, which Trump signed last month, will keep the government funded through the end of September. A government shutdown ahead of the November mid-elections is unlikely to be supported by his fellow Republicans who are keen to keep control of the U.S. Congress.

Friendly territory

Trump chose a friendly venue for his rally, which not coincidentally came the same night as the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner. He skipped the dinner last year, too, and attending a rally in which he took time to attack the news media and assure his audience, as he did in Washington Township, about 40 miles north of Detroit, that he’d rather be with them.

Ahead of the rally Trump said in a fundraising pitch that he had come up with something better than being stuck in a room “with a bunch of fake news liberals who hate me.” He said he would rather spend the evening “with my favorite deplorables.”

During the 2016 campaign, Clinton drew laughs when she told supporters at a private fundraiser that half of Trump supporters could be lumped into a “basket of deplorables,” denouncing them as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.”

Clinton later did a partial rollback, said she had been “grossly generalistic” and regretted saying the label fit “half” of Trump’s supporters. But she didn’t back down from the general sentiment.

Trump soon had the video running in his campaign ads, and his supporters wore the “deplorable” label as a badge of honor.

White, blue-collar voters

Macomb County, the site of Trump’s rally, is among the predominantly white counties known as a base for “Reagan Democrats,” blue-collar voters who abandoned the Democratic Party for Ronald Reagan, but who can be intriguingly movable.

Democrat Barack Obama won the county twice in his White House runs, then Trump carried it by more than 11 percentage points.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Drugmakers Push Back Against Lawmakers’ Calls to Tax Opioids

Facing a rising death toll from drug overdoses, state lawmakers across the United States are testing a strategy to boost treatment for opioid addicts: Force drug manufacturers and their distributors to pay for it.

Bills introduced in at least 15 states would impose taxes or fees on prescription painkillers. Several of the measures have bipartisan support and would funnel millions of dollars toward treatment and prevention programs.

In Montana, state Senator Roger Webb, a Republican, sees the approach as a way to hold drugmakers accountable for an overdose epidemic that in 2016 claimed 42,000 lives in the U.S., a record.

“You’re creating the problem,” he said of drugmakers. “You’re going to fix it.”

Opioids include prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin as well as illegal drugs such as heroin and illicit versions of fentanyl. Public health experts say the crisis started because of overprescribing and aggressive marketing of the drugs that began in the 1990s. The death toll has continued to rise even as prescribing has started to drop.

Pennsylvania bill

A Pennsylvania opioid tax bill was introduced in 2015 and a federal version was introduced a year later, but most of the proposals arose during the past year. The majority of them have yet to get very far, with lawmakers facing intense pressure from the pharmaceutical industry to scuttle or soften the legislation.

Drugmakers and distributors argue that it would be wrong to tax prescription drugs, that the cost increases would eventually be absorbed by patients or taxpayers, and that there are other ways to pay for addiction treatment and prevention.

“We have been engaged with states to help move forward comprehensive solutions to this complex public health crisis and in many cases have seen successes,” Priscilla VanderVeer, a spokeswoman for Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said in a statement. “However, we do not believe levying a tax on prescribed medicines that meet legitimate medical needs is an appropriate funding mechanism for a state’s budget.”

Two drug companies that deployed lobbyists — Purdue Pharma and Pfizer — responded to questions with similar statements.

A spokesman for the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, which represents drug distributors, said a tax would mean that cancer patients and those in end-of-life care might not be able to get the prescriptions they need.

The pharmaceutical industry has emphasized that the name-brand drug companies that make up its members already give rebates to states for drugs funded by Medicaid. Those rebates amount to billions of dollars nationwide that states could use to address opioid addiction, the trade group says.

State legislation to tax opioids comes as manufacturers and distributors are defending themselves in hundreds of lawsuits filed by state and local governments seeking damages for the toll the overdose epidemic has taken on communities.

​Delaware effort

David Humes, whose son died from a heroin overdose in 2012, has been pushing for an opioid tax in Delaware, which did not increase funding for addiction treatment last year as it struggles to balance its budget.

“When you think about the fact that each year more people are dying, if you leave the money the same, you’re not keeping up with this public health crisis,” he said.

Humes, a board member of the advocacy group atTAcK Addiction, supports legislation that would dedicate opioid tax revenue for addiction services.

The lead sponsor of an opioids tax bill, state Senator Stephanie Hansen, said drug companies told her they already were contributing $500,000 to anti-addiction measures in Delaware, where there were 282 fatal overdoses from all drugs in 2016, a 40 percent increase from the year before.

“My response is, ‘That’s wonderful, but we’re not stopping there,’ ” said Hansen, a Democrat.

She said if her tax measure had been in place last year, it would have raised more than $9 million.

The drug industry’s current spending on anti-addiction programs has been a point of contention in the Minnesota Legislature. There, the overdose rate is lower than it is in most other states, but opioids still claimed 395 lives in 2016, an increase of 18 percent over the year before.

State Representative Dave Baker, a Republican whose son died of a heroin overdose after getting started on prescription painkillers, said opioid manufacturers and distributors should pay for drug programs separately. He said the rebate — about $250 million in 2016 in Minnesota — is intended to make up for overcharging for drugs in the first place.

Drugmakers not ‘part of the solution’

Another Republican lawmaker, state Senator Julie Rosen, said she walked out of a meeting this month with drug industry representatives, saying they were wasting her time.

“They know that they’re spending way too much money on defending their position instead of being part of the solution,” she said.

Representatives of the pharmaceutical industry say they have met with Rosen multiple times and are “committed to continue working with her.”

Drug companies have a history of digging in to defeat measures that are intended to combat the opioid crisis. A 2016 investigation by The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity found makers of opioids and their allies spent $880 million on politics and lobbying from 2006 through 2015.

The industry so far has succeeded in stalling the Minnesota legislation, which would charge opioid manufacturers by the dosage. With the bill facing resistance, Rosen and a Democratic co-sponsor, state Senator Chris Eaton, said they were considering changing tactics and amending it.

That could include raising the $235 annual licensing fee on opioid manufacturers or requiring drugmakers and distributors to pay $20 million a year based on the proportion of opioids they sell in the state. That approach is based on one adopted earlier this spring as part of the budget in New York — the only state to implement an opioid tax so far.

Eaton, whose daughter died from a heroin overdose in 2007, said her goal is to find a way to create and fund a structure that will ensure addiction treatment is “as routine as treating diabetes or cardiac arrest.”

Drugmakers Push Back Against Lawmakers’ Calls to Tax Opioids

Facing a rising death toll from drug overdoses, state lawmakers across the United States are testing a strategy to boost treatment for opioid addicts: Force drug manufacturers and their distributors to pay for it.

Bills introduced in at least 15 states would impose taxes or fees on prescription painkillers. Several of the measures have bipartisan support and would funnel millions of dollars toward treatment and prevention programs.

In Montana, state Senator Roger Webb, a Republican, sees the approach as a way to hold drugmakers accountable for an overdose epidemic that in 2016 claimed 42,000 lives in the U.S., a record.

“You’re creating the problem,” he said of drugmakers. “You’re going to fix it.”

Opioids include prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin as well as illegal drugs such as heroin and illicit versions of fentanyl. Public health experts say the crisis started because of overprescribing and aggressive marketing of the drugs that began in the 1990s. The death toll has continued to rise even as prescribing has started to drop.

Pennsylvania bill

A Pennsylvania opioid tax bill was introduced in 2015 and a federal version was introduced a year later, but most of the proposals arose during the past year. The majority of them have yet to get very far, with lawmakers facing intense pressure from the pharmaceutical industry to scuttle or soften the legislation.

Drugmakers and distributors argue that it would be wrong to tax prescription drugs, that the cost increases would eventually be absorbed by patients or taxpayers, and that there are other ways to pay for addiction treatment and prevention.

“We have been engaged with states to help move forward comprehensive solutions to this complex public health crisis and in many cases have seen successes,” Priscilla VanderVeer, a spokeswoman for Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said in a statement. “However, we do not believe levying a tax on prescribed medicines that meet legitimate medical needs is an appropriate funding mechanism for a state’s budget.”

Two drug companies that deployed lobbyists — Purdue Pharma and Pfizer — responded to questions with similar statements.

A spokesman for the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, which represents drug distributors, said a tax would mean that cancer patients and those in end-of-life care might not be able to get the prescriptions they need.

The pharmaceutical industry has emphasized that the name-brand drug companies that make up its members already give rebates to states for drugs funded by Medicaid. Those rebates amount to billions of dollars nationwide that states could use to address opioid addiction, the trade group says.

State legislation to tax opioids comes as manufacturers and distributors are defending themselves in hundreds of lawsuits filed by state and local governments seeking damages for the toll the overdose epidemic has taken on communities.

​Delaware effort

David Humes, whose son died from a heroin overdose in 2012, has been pushing for an opioid tax in Delaware, which did not increase funding for addiction treatment last year as it struggles to balance its budget.

“When you think about the fact that each year more people are dying, if you leave the money the same, you’re not keeping up with this public health crisis,” he said.

Humes, a board member of the advocacy group atTAcK Addiction, supports legislation that would dedicate opioid tax revenue for addiction services.

The lead sponsor of an opioids tax bill, state Senator Stephanie Hansen, said drug companies told her they already were contributing $500,000 to anti-addiction measures in Delaware, where there were 282 fatal overdoses from all drugs in 2016, a 40 percent increase from the year before.

“My response is, ‘That’s wonderful, but we’re not stopping there,’ ” said Hansen, a Democrat.

She said if her tax measure had been in place last year, it would have raised more than $9 million.

The drug industry’s current spending on anti-addiction programs has been a point of contention in the Minnesota Legislature. There, the overdose rate is lower than it is in most other states, but opioids still claimed 395 lives in 2016, an increase of 18 percent over the year before.

State Representative Dave Baker, a Republican whose son died of a heroin overdose after getting started on prescription painkillers, said opioid manufacturers and distributors should pay for drug programs separately. He said the rebate — about $250 million in 2016 in Minnesota — is intended to make up for overcharging for drugs in the first place.

Drugmakers not ‘part of the solution’

Another Republican lawmaker, state Senator Julie Rosen, said she walked out of a meeting this month with drug industry representatives, saying they were wasting her time.

“They know that they’re spending way too much money on defending their position instead of being part of the solution,” she said.

Representatives of the pharmaceutical industry say they have met with Rosen multiple times and are “committed to continue working with her.”

Drug companies have a history of digging in to defeat measures that are intended to combat the opioid crisis. A 2016 investigation by The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity found makers of opioids and their allies spent $880 million on politics and lobbying from 2006 through 2015.

The industry so far has succeeded in stalling the Minnesota legislation, which would charge opioid manufacturers by the dosage. With the bill facing resistance, Rosen and a Democratic co-sponsor, state Senator Chris Eaton, said they were considering changing tactics and amending it.

That could include raising the $235 annual licensing fee on opioid manufacturers or requiring drugmakers and distributors to pay $20 million a year based on the proportion of opioids they sell in the state. That approach is based on one adopted earlier this spring as part of the budget in New York — the only state to implement an opioid tax so far.

Eaton, whose daughter died from a heroin overdose in 2007, said her goal is to find a way to create and fund a structure that will ensure addiction treatment is “as routine as treating diabetes or cardiac arrest.”

Trump Calls for Senator to Resign Over Opposition to Nominee for Veterans Post

U.S. President Donald Trump called for the resignation Saturday of Democratic Senator Jon Tester for raising concerns about Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, Ronny Jackson, who withdrew his name from consideration on Thursday.

Jackson, who is the White House physician and a Navy Rear Admiral, dropped his bid Thursday to head the country’s second-largest federal agency as lawmakers probed allegations of professional misconduct and excessive drinking.

In a pair of tweets, Trump wrote the allegations “are proving false” and that Tester, who represents the western state of Montana, should step down.

 

 

Trump blamed Tester for the demise of Jackson’s nomination after Tester said Wednesday that 20 current and former members of the military familiar with Jackson’s office had told lawmakers that he drank on the job. They also said Jackson oversaw a toxic work environment and handed out drug prescriptions with little consideration of a patient’s medical background.

Jackson said if the allegations “had any merit, I would not have been selected, promoted and entrusted to serve in such a sensitive and important role as physician to three presidents over the past 12 years. Going into this process, I expected tough questions about how to best care for our veterans, but I did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity.”

The White House presented documents to reporters from an administration official who claims they exonerate Jackson from the accusations of inappropriately dispensing medication and crashing a government vehicle after a Secret Service going away party.

Jackson was fast losing support in Congress.

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers indefinitely postponed Jackson’s scheduled Wednesday confirmation hearing as they investigated the allegations.

Several news outlets reported that Jackson was known as the “candy man” for over-prescribing drug prescriptions, while CNN said that in one 2015 incident Jackson drunkenly banged on the hotel room door of a female employee in the middle of the night on an overseas trip. The U.S. Secret Service intervened to stop Jackson, according to the report, so then-President Barack Obama, sleeping in another hotel room, would not be awakened.

Jackson gained a degree of fame unusual for White House physicians earlier this year when he took questions from the White House press corps on national television, describing at length about Trump’s health after conducting the president’s physical exam.

Trump, the oldest first-term president in American history, was plagued at the time by questions about his physical health, weight and mental stability. But Jackson gave the president a top rating. “The president’s overall health is excellent,” Jackson declared at the time.

Trump unexpectedly picked Jackson to replace a holdover from the administration of former president Obama, David Shulkin, whom Trump fired. Several lawmakers have complained that the White House did not properly vet Jackson’s background before Trump announced Jackson’s appointment.

Trump Calls for Senator to Resign Over Opposition to Nominee for Veterans Post

U.S. President Donald Trump called for the resignation Saturday of Democratic Senator Jon Tester for raising concerns about Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, Ronny Jackson, who withdrew his name from consideration on Thursday.

Jackson, who is the White House physician and a Navy Rear Admiral, dropped his bid Thursday to head the country’s second-largest federal agency as lawmakers probed allegations of professional misconduct and excessive drinking.

In a pair of tweets, Trump wrote the allegations “are proving false” and that Tester, who represents the western state of Montana, should step down.

 

 

Trump blamed Tester for the demise of Jackson’s nomination after Tester said Wednesday that 20 current and former members of the military familiar with Jackson’s office had told lawmakers that he drank on the job. They also said Jackson oversaw a toxic work environment and handed out drug prescriptions with little consideration of a patient’s medical background.

Jackson said if the allegations “had any merit, I would not have been selected, promoted and entrusted to serve in such a sensitive and important role as physician to three presidents over the past 12 years. Going into this process, I expected tough questions about how to best care for our veterans, but I did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity.”

The White House presented documents to reporters from an administration official who claims they exonerate Jackson from the accusations of inappropriately dispensing medication and crashing a government vehicle after a Secret Service going away party.

Jackson was fast losing support in Congress.

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers indefinitely postponed Jackson’s scheduled Wednesday confirmation hearing as they investigated the allegations.

Several news outlets reported that Jackson was known as the “candy man” for over-prescribing drug prescriptions, while CNN said that in one 2015 incident Jackson drunkenly banged on the hotel room door of a female employee in the middle of the night on an overseas trip. The U.S. Secret Service intervened to stop Jackson, according to the report, so then-President Barack Obama, sleeping in another hotel room, would not be awakened.

Jackson gained a degree of fame unusual for White House physicians earlier this year when he took questions from the White House press corps on national television, describing at length about Trump’s health after conducting the president’s physical exam.

Trump, the oldest first-term president in American history, was plagued at the time by questions about his physical health, weight and mental stability. But Jackson gave the president a top rating. “The president’s overall health is excellent,” Jackson declared at the time.

Trump unexpectedly picked Jackson to replace a holdover from the administration of former president Obama, David Shulkin, whom Trump fired. Several lawmakers have complained that the White House did not properly vet Jackson’s background before Trump announced Jackson’s appointment.

Trump Betting on Large, Friendly Crowd at Michigan Rally

President Donald Trump was betting on a big crowd and a friendly reception at a Saturday evening rally in Michigan – one of the states in the Upper Midwest that Hillary Clinton counted on in 2016 but saw slip away.

In fact, Trump was the first Republican presidential nominee to capture Michigan since George H.W. Bush in 1988.

“Look forward to being in the Great State of Michigan tonight,” Trump said in a tweet hours before the event in Washington Township, Michigan, which is about 40 miles north of Detroit.

He also tweeted: “Major business expansion and jobs pouring into your State. Auto companies expanding at record pace. Big crowd tonight, will be live on T.V.”

Also scheduled to air on cable television Saturday night was a Washington tradition that Trump says he’s happy to skip: The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

Trump said in a fundraising pitch from campaign that he had come up with something better than being stuck in a room “with a bunch of fake news liberals who hate me.”

He said he would rather spend the evening “with my favorite deplorables.”

During the 2016 campaign, Clinton drew laughs when she told supporters at a private fundraiser that half of Trump supporters could be lumped into a “basket of deplorables” – denouncing them as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.”

Clinton later did a partial rollback, said she had been “grossly generalistic” and regretted saying the label fit “half” of Trump’s supporters. But she didn’t back down from the general sentiment.

Trump soon had the video running in his campaign ads, and his supporters wore the “deplorable” label as a badge of honor.

Macomb County, the site of Trump’s rally, is among the predominantly white counties known as a base for “Reagan Democrats” – blue-collar voters who abandoned the Democratic Party for Ronald Reagan, but who can be intriguingly movable.

Democrat Barack Obama won the county twice in his White House runs, then Trump carried it by more than 11 percentage points.

Trump Betting on Large, Friendly Crowd at Michigan Rally

President Donald Trump was betting on a big crowd and a friendly reception at a Saturday evening rally in Michigan – one of the states in the Upper Midwest that Hillary Clinton counted on in 2016 but saw slip away.

In fact, Trump was the first Republican presidential nominee to capture Michigan since George H.W. Bush in 1988.

“Look forward to being in the Great State of Michigan tonight,” Trump said in a tweet hours before the event in Washington Township, Michigan, which is about 40 miles north of Detroit.

He also tweeted: “Major business expansion and jobs pouring into your State. Auto companies expanding at record pace. Big crowd tonight, will be live on T.V.”

Also scheduled to air on cable television Saturday night was a Washington tradition that Trump says he’s happy to skip: The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

Trump said in a fundraising pitch from campaign that he had come up with something better than being stuck in a room “with a bunch of fake news liberals who hate me.”

He said he would rather spend the evening “with my favorite deplorables.”

During the 2016 campaign, Clinton drew laughs when she told supporters at a private fundraiser that half of Trump supporters could be lumped into a “basket of deplorables” – denouncing them as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.”

Clinton later did a partial rollback, said she had been “grossly generalistic” and regretted saying the label fit “half” of Trump’s supporters. But she didn’t back down from the general sentiment.

Trump soon had the video running in his campaign ads, and his supporters wore the “deplorable” label as a badge of honor.

Macomb County, the site of Trump’s rally, is among the predominantly white counties known as a base for “Reagan Democrats” – blue-collar voters who abandoned the Democratic Party for Ronald Reagan, but who can be intriguingly movable.

Democrat Barack Obama won the county twice in his White House runs, then Trump carried it by more than 11 percentage points.