CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CNN) — It was a Donald Trump original Wednesday night.
The President slammed Democrats for opposing his agenda, railed against the media’s coverage of his presidency and hailed the work he has done to make good on his campaign promises in a stemwinder Wednesday night at an arena filled with thousands of his still-loyal supporters.
For weeks, the President and his administration have felt bogged down and damaged by a seemingly endless barrage of inquiries and news reports linked to the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The appointment of a special counsel and indications that the investigation is inching closer to the President himself have hamstrung the administration’s legislative efforts and damaged Trump’s political capital.
But on Wednesday night, Trump rolled into this Iowa city on the banks of the Cedar River feeling none of those worries — just the wind at his back after a Republican candidate triumphed in special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District that Democrats had sought to turn into a referendum on the President.
Trump opened his speech by congratulating the Republican, Karen Handel, on her victory. But after a few minutes on script, Trump soon began to freewheel — lambasting the media as fake news and slamming Democrats for obstructing his agenda, calling them “unbelievably nasty, really, really nasty.”
But even as his attempts at health care reform face an uncertain future, Trump touted Tuesday night’s election victory — in a district that, before Trump, trended solidly Republican — as a sign that Democrats’ tactics are failing.
“Their plan isn’t working because they thought they were going to win last night in Atlanta,” Trump said of Democrats’ political strategy. “The truth is people love us, all of us. They love us. They haven’t figured it out yet.
Handel’s victory denied Democrats the chance to flip a solidly Republican district in the hopes that Trump’s rising unpopularity could sink congressional Republicans.
Trump had made no secret of his glee earlier in the day.
“Thank you @FoxNews “Huge win for President Trump and GOP in Georgia Congressional Special Election,” Trump tweeted after the race was called.
“Well, the Special Elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN are 5 and O! All the Fake News, all the money spent = 0,” Trump tweeted in one of a half-dozen tweets about Tuesday night’s contests, which also included a less-hyped race for a South Carolina congressional seat.
Trump’s high spirits continued as he went about his duties Wednesday at the White House, a White House official said.
Like the other rallies Trump has held since taking office, Wednesday’s event will serve to buoy the President’s mood further, giving Trump an opportunity to revel in the applause of his base and connect with his supporters that are removed from Washington.
Still, the latest polling shows Trump teetering on the edge of that base of support — with just 36% of Americans approving of his job as president, according to a CBS News poll released Monday.
Trump’s rally on Wednesday will also serve as a send-off for his newly minted US ambassador to China, former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who leaves for Beijing this week, said Michael Glassner, executive director of Trump’s campaign committee.
Trump will also discuss rural education initiatives, Glassner said.
The rally will come after Trump visits a community college to highlight agricultural issues.