Hours after news broke that special counsel Robert Mueller had enabled a grand jury to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, President Trump hit back at a West Virginia rally.
The president was in Huntington, where he discussed his campaign promises on immigration, economy, and crime Thursday evening.
He also spoke at length about the allegations of his campaign’s ties to Russia, calling it a “fake story.”
“It is a fake story that is demeaning to all of us,” he told the crowd of thousands. “The Russia story is a total fabrication. It's just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics. That's all it is. Most people know there were no Russians in our campaign. There never were. We didn't win because of Russia. We won because of you."
The crowd in Appalachia, which gave him a large margin in the November 2016 election, cheered as the president taunted the media and the grand jury.
“Are there any Russians here tonight? Any Russians?” Are there any Russians in West Virginia? Pennsylvania? Ohio? Are there any Russians here tonight?” he said.
During the rally, Trump also celebrated West Virginia’s Democratic governor, Jim Justice, who announced that he will be switching to the Republican Party.
“Having Big Jim as a Republican is such an honor,” Trump said. “Fantastic man, fantastic guy.”
Justice, who stood by the president’s side during the speech, told the crowd that Trump “is a good man.”
“This man is a good man. He’s got a backbone, he’s got real ideas. He cares about us in West Virginia,” Justice said.
He also defended the president on the alleged ties to Russia, saying: “Have we not heard enough about the Russians?"
Trump will leave Washington Friday for a 17-day vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., as renovations get underway at the White House.
The work includes fixing leaks, power washing, sprucing up paint colors and swapping out curtains.