COLUMBIA — President Donald Trump should tone down his “hateful rhetoric” about minorities and immigrants as he concludes the 2018 midterm campaign with stops in several states including a stop Thursday in Columbia, Columbia veteran Rich Grant said Thursday.
Grant, who joined Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Webber and retired farmer Winston Simpson of Clarence at a news conference about veterans issues, said he is the most upsetting aspect of politics now is the way Trump and his supporters talk about immigration.
“I am not happy at all when marginalized communities have hateful rhetoric directed against them for no other reason than that they are part of that marginalized minority,” Grant said. “If President Trump would do one thing that I would ask, it would be to tone down and eliminate the hateful rhetoric that he demonstrates, particularly at his rallies.”
The rush to Tuesday’s vote means politicians are crossing and recrossing the state to excite voters and drive news coverage. Webber, an Iraq War combat veteran, has spent this week talking about veterans’ issues. Shortly before Webber’s event, Hawley visited Stacey’s Place in Mexico to meet and talk with the breakfast crowd.
Control of the U.S. Senate could come down to the race between Hawley and McCaskill. Missouri will decide the future of the country, Hawley said.
“That is how important this Senate race is. We have a big choice. There is bright difference between myself and Sen. McCaskill,” Hawley said.
Other Wednesday stops for Hawley included Hannibal, Kirksville and Macon. Following all this, he said he will take his children out trick-or-treating. The restaurant visit was a surprise to owner Stacey Conklin.
“I didn’t know he was coming,” she said. “Not until I heard it on the radio. They didn’t call me. Well, we just go with the flow.”
Speaking with reporters, Hawley said he is certain immigration will be an issue for Trump during the rally at Columbia Regional Airport.
“It’s a huge issue in this campaign,” Hawley said. “We have a policy that does not work for this country and it does not work for Missouri workers. That has got to change.”
Trump will visit Cape Girardeau before the election in addition to the stop in Columbia. Webber said Democratic enthusiasm is the highest he’s seen since 2008 and Trump won’t change that.
“I am not sure people can transfer political popularity,” Webber said. “I know Josh Hawley is desperately trying to find somebody who will help flesh out who he is politically. I don’t think Josh Hawley bringing in a whole bunch of people to establish who he is is going to work.”
The mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg by a man who holds extreme anti-Semitic opinions has become the latest episode in the debate over whether Trump is too divisive. On Saturday, Trump the mass shooting would have gone differently if there had been armed guards at the entrance. When asked if all houses of worship should employ armed staff, Hawley took a more hands-off approach.
“I think that is up to local congregations. They’ll make their own decisions about what they want. I know some congregations do that. Others don’t. That is totally up the them, I think,” he said.
Hawley is pleased that the shooter, Robert Bowers, has been charged with hate crimes that could result in the death penalty.
“I think that is entirely warranted,” Hawley said. “I hope he is swiftly prosecuted and anyone else who would do anything like that. It’s important to send a signal.”
Law enforcement needs also tie into immigration policies. Hawley said he stands with the president on ending chain migration, officially known as family reunification under federal law. He said he was uncertain about Trump’s plans to end birthright citizenship, a right under the 14th Amendment.
“I haven’t seen his executive order or proposal for it, so I’m not sure what he has in mind when he talks about the executive order,” Hawley said. “I know Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., talked about introducing legislation to this effect.
At the Columbia stop, Simpson said the trade war begun when Trump started imposing new import taxes is damaging the farm economy. China has imposed retaliatory tariffs and dramatically cut imports of soybeans, forcing farm prices down. The promised payments to offset the losses aren’t enough, Simpson said.
“He needs to speed things along with this trade war and get it over and figure out how to get things moving again before it kills our economy,” Simpson said.
In the discussion of veterans’ issues, Webber said McCaskill has worked to make mental health care more accessible for veterans returning home with post-traumatic stress disorder. Hawley, he said, isn’t even giving lip service to veterans issues.
“Josh Hawley doesn’t have the word veteran on his website,” Webber said.
Simpson said his father is a veteran of World War II and his son is a veteran of the Iraq war. His son has brain injuries from blasts and post-traumatic stress disorder and he credits constituent service from McCaskill for getting his son specialty care for migraines and a 2011 stroke.
“Without Claire’s help, I don’t know what would have happened to us,” Simpson said.