Washington/Anchorage, Alaska: President Donald Trump dismissed the first Democratic debate as "boring" on Wednesday night, predicting that the 10 rivals on stage seeking to toss him from office in the 2020 election would do poorly.
The debate began at about the same time that Air Force One, carrying Trump and his entourage to Japan, stopped to refuel at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska.
"There’s a big debate going on; it just started," Trump told US troops at the base during the refueling. "I had my choice between you and them, and I chose you."
Asked by a reporter how he thought the Democrats would do during the debate, Trump said, "I think they’re all going to do very poorly."
Once he got back on the plane and the debate had begun, he fired off a one-word tweet: “BORING.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2019
He also took aim at NBC News and MSNBC when a technical glitch delayed the debate’s second hour. He has consistently accused the network of not treating him fairly.
"@NBCNews and @MSNBC should be ashamed of themselves for having such a horrible technical breakdown in the middle of the debate. Truly unprofessional and only worthy of a FAKE NEWS Organization, which they are!" he tweeted.
While Trump was dismissive, his campaign team was closely monitoring the debate in Miami in Florida, a state Trump won in 2016, but which is predicted to be close again in 2020.
Trump’s campaign bought the masthead advertisement at the top of YouTube for Wednesday, showing two ads during the debate that urged visitors to text a phone number for campaign updates or to vote for a Trump rally in their state.
On Facebook, the campaign ran a slew of paid ads that referenced the debate, asking people to take his tongue-in-cheek 'Official Trump vs Democrat Poll.'
The opinion poll, which required respondents to submit their contact details, posed questions such as "Who do you believe will ALWAYS put America FIRST?" with options such as President Trump or "A Sleazy Democrat."
Trump, who has been a polarizing, name-calling and often chaotic president, is publicly expressing confidence about his re-election prospects in 2020.
He heard chants of "four more years, four more years" in his appearance in Washington on Wednesday before the Faith and Freedom Coalition, an evangelical Christian group.
Privately, some advisers worry about his chances in several states he won in 2016, such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
"There were some internal worries at the campaign in recent weeks that the job of Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale might be at risk after the leak of internal polling that showed Trump doing badly in several key states," a Trump adviser said.
"Trump ultimately fired two of his three pollsters, which appeared to calm those worries for now," the adviser told Reuters.
Trump raised $6 million on Tuesday night for Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee for Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee, an RNC official said.
He has now brought in $36 million for Trump Victory since formally launching his campaign a week ago in Florida.
Updated Date: Jun 27, 2019 10:19:29 IST