President Trump, at a campaign rally in Louisiana Wednesday night, unloaded on whistleblower attorney Mark Zaid, after a Fox News article from earlier in the day revealed that Zaid had tweeted about the beginning of a “coup” against the president back in 2017.
The president extensively quoted from the article, which reported that Zaid has long called for Trump’s impeachment — even promising two years ago, “We will get rid of him.” Zaid asserted in his social media posts that the “coup” would occur in “many steps.”
Zaid now represents the intelligence community whistleblower who is at the center of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against the president. The whistleblower has alleged that, earlier this year, Trump improperly threatened to withhold aid to Ukraine for political reasons.
“Democrats must be accountable for their hoaxes and their crimes,” Trump said, holding a printout of the Fox News piece.
“I don’t know if you saw, I’m just coming off the plane, and they hand me — look at this character. They just hand me this story, ”Coup has started,’ whistleblower attorney said in 2017.'”
Trump added: “That was a long time ago. It’s all a hoax. They say, January 2017 — a ‘coup has started,’ and the ‘impeachment will follow ultimately.’ It’s all a hoax. It’s a scam. And, you know who helps them? These people back here — the media.”
Calling Zaid a “sleazeball,” Trump further noted that Zaid had declared CNN would play a role in impeaching Trump.
Fox News reported hours before the rally that in July 2017, Zaid tweeted, “I predict @CNN will play a key role in @realDonaldTrump not finishing out his full term as president.”
And, amid a slew of impeachment-related posts, Zaid assured his Twitter followers that “as one falls, two more will take their place,” apparently referring to Trump administration employees defying the White House.
“Can you believe this?” Trump asked. “Just came out. It’s a disgrace. These people are bad people. They rip the guts out of our country.”
Reached by Fox News as Trump spoke, Zaid declined to comment. On Thursday morning, Zaid sent a statement to Fox News defending his posts as common sentiments.
“Those tweets were reflective and repeated the sentiments of millions of people,” Zaid said. “I was referring to a completely lawful process of what President Trump would likely face as a result of stepping over the line, and that particularly whatever would happen would come about as a result of lawyers. The coup comment referred to those working inside the Administration who were already, just a week into office, standing up to him to enforce recognized rules of law.“
Trump also hammered The Washington Post, saying, “19 minutes after I took the oath of office, the horrible, disgusting Washington Post — which is a terrible paper — an article comes out, ‘The campaign to impeach President Trump has begun.'”
With the stars of the reality television show “Duck Dynasty” in attendance, Trump was in the northern Louisiana city of Monroe boosting Republican businessman Eddie Rispone in his effort to keep Democrat John Bel Edwards from a second term as governor in a crimson state Trump won by 20 percentage points. Early voting ends Saturday in the Nov. 16 election, which will mark the last governor’s race of the year.
“If you’re pro-God and pro-America and pro-gun and pro-duck hunting, that’s all I want,” Phil Robertson, one of the “Duck Dynasty” stars, said at the microphone.
“You’re going out to replace a radical liberal Democrat as your governor,” Trump said as the crowd booed. “John Bel Edwards has not done the job.”
But, the president and other speakers at the rally also placed heavy emphasis on the upcoming 2020 election. Louisiana GOP Sen. John Kennedy, after praising Trump’s time in the White House as a boon to the country, colorfully accused Democrats of trying to distract from the administration’s successes.
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to impeach him,” Kennedy said. “I don’t mean any disrespect, but it must suck to be that dumb.”
At one point, the president identified an 8-year-old in the crowd and said the child probably knew more about the energy industry than Hunter Biden did.
The younger Biden routinely obtained lucrative jobs, including with Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings, while his father handled relevant policy as a senator and, later, vice president.
The president went on to tout his accomplishments in office, including record-low unemployment numbers and the killing of ISIS’ leader, before turning to a critique of Hillary Clinton.
“Is there any place you would rather be than a Trump rally, on a beautiful evening in Louisiana?” Trump asked, as the crowd chanted, “Lock her up,” and cheered. “Would you rather be at LSU vs. Alabama, or a Trump rally?”
“I’m gonna take one more liberty,” Rispone told attendees later in the evening. “Go Tigers! Beat ‘Bama!”
Over a thousand people were gathered outside the Monroe Civic Center early Wednesday morning, and over 40,000 people obtained tickets for the event. However, tickets have not guaranteed entry to Trump’s rallies, and the arena would hold up to 10,000 people.
At the rally, Trump announced he would be back in Louisiana on Thursday for another rally at the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City.
Some members of the NAACP Monroe/Ouachita Parish Branch were protesting Trump’s arrival just outside of the arena, the Monroe Star reported. Echoing the chants at a recent rally hosted by Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., the demonstrators also yelled, “Lock him up.”
But, pro-Trump enthusiasm was largely high among attendees in a festival-like atmosphere.
“He’s the best president we’ve had in quite a long time,” Darlene Smith of Mississippi told the paper. “He’s in it for the people. He’s not in it for the money. He’s not getting paid.”
You can read the rest of Gregg Re’s article at FoxNews.com