PHOTO: Event attendees snap photos as President Donald Trump takes the stage for a rally to support Marsha Blackburn inside Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium on Tuesday, May 29, 2018./Brooke Wanser.
By BROOKE WANSER
Less than an hour after Tuesday night’s presidential rally in support of Marsha Blackburn ended, Phil Bredesen’s campaign had sent out a press release commenting on the president’s remarks about his challenge in the U.S. Senate race.
The statement emphasized his stance that he is not running against President Donald Trump, who referred to Bredesen as a “tool.”
During the rally inside Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium, President Trump spoke for over an hour about cracking down on illegal immigration and victories he has achieved, while focusing only a few minutes on Blackburn and the race in Tennessee.
When Trump did refer to the race for retiring U.S. Sen. Bob Corker’s seat, he spoke disparagingly of businessman Phil Bredesen, the former state governor and former mayor of Nashville.
“Marsha’s very liberal Democrat opponent, Phil Bredesen: never heard of this guy,” Trump said. “Who is he? He’s an absolute, total, tool, of Chuck Schumer. He’s a tool of Chuck Schumer, and of course, the MS-13 lover Nancy Pelosi.”
Trump referred to Latin American gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, throughout the night, calling them “animals”.
“So Philbert was recruited by Schumer to run for the Senate,” Trump continued, referring to Bredesen as “Philbert.”
“He had to get Pelosi’s approval, can you believe this? And if Bredesen were ever to get elected, he’d do whatever Chuck and Nancy — remember the term, Chuck and Nancy — they don’t want the wall, they want open borders, they’re more interested in taking care of criminals than they are in taking care of you.”
Just prior to the rally, the Republican National Committee published a lengthy post on their website, entitled “Phil Bredesen: Out-of-Touch with Tennessee Voters,” attacking the Democratic challenger’s stance on “reasonable” gun control, an increase in unemployment during his time as governor, and donation to Democratic candidates.
Bredesen’s campaign released the following statement in response to the negative comments.
“Governor Bredesen has made it clear that if President Trump proposes something that’s good for Tennessee, then he’ll support it. Likewise, if the president suggests something that’s bad for Tennesseans, then he’ll oppose it. That’s what senators ought to do. Bottom line: Phil Bredesen is an independent thinker with a proven record of working with Democrats and Republicans. In Washington, he’ll vote in the best interests of Tennessee and Tennesseans.” – Alyssa Hansen, press secretary
The statement continues to list facts about Bredesen’s background.
- Governor Bredesen has been clear from day 1 that he is not running against the President, he is running for the U.S. Senate to represent the people of Tennessee
- It is clear that Governor Bredesen’s message of working together to get things done is resonating with Tennessee voters.
- According to a recent Vanderbilt University poll, a majority of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans have a favorable view of Governor Bredesen
- The balance of the Senate majority does not depend on Tennessee and Phil Bredesen has said that he fully expects to be in the minority.
- Democrats are defending 26 seats, including 10 states that Trump won, just to keep their minority margin today.
- Democrats still have to win 2 more seats, although Trump lost in Nevada, he won in Arizona, Tennessee, and Texas by big margins. Those are the places that Dems need to win, even after defending 26 current seats. It is mathematically possible, but politically implausible.
Blackburn, a U.S. Congressman from Brentwood, began the Williamson County Young Republicans in the 1990s, before chairing the county Republican party.
Though Bredesen lost Williamson County to Republican opponent Van Hilleary in the 2002 gubernatorial race, he beat out Republican challenger Jim Bryson with over 35,000 votes to Bryson’s 25,384 in 2006.