By Grace Segers CBS News October 31, 2018, 2:59 PM Trump rallies in Florida amid concerns over divisive political rhetoric – live updates
President Trump is traveling to Ft. Myers, Florida, Wednesday afternoon for a campaign rally for statewide Republican candidates in the evening. He is departing the White House at around 4 p.m. ET, after attending the "Our Pledge to American Workers" event.
Mr. Trump is traveling to Florida after a tumultuous week, which saw the arrest of a man who had sent explosive devices to several Democratic leaders and a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. The president went to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, but congressional and city leaders did not appear with him, and he was met with several protesters.
How to watch the Trump Rally in Florida:
The rally in Florida may have a different tone than previous ones, as the country has engaged in a debate over political rhetoric in recent days.
Cesar Sayoc, the man who allegedly sent the bombs, was a steadfast Trump supporter who had promoted right-wing conspiracy theories and threatened Democratic politicians on Twitter. Pittsburgh shooting suspect Robert Bowers told police officers that he wanted to "kill Jews," according to charging documents, and had previously made anti-Semitic comments online. These prominent examples of hateful rhetoric culminating in violence have led many on the left to point to Mr. Trump for his incendiary political language. The president and his allies have vehemently denied that his heated rhetoric in rallies encouraged divisiveness.
Mr. Trump also blamed the media for sowing discord in American politics. "There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly," he tweeted on Monday.
During a campaign rally in North Carolina on Friday, after the arrest of Sayoc, Mr. Trump often noted that he was "being nice" by using a quieter tone and softer rhetoric. "Political violence must never, ever be allowed in America and I will do everything in my power to stop it," Mr. Trump said at the rally, calling for an "end to the politics of personal destruction." At a mention of the media, the crowd chanted "CNN sucks," while Mr. Trump looked on.
Mr. Trump also said in an interview with "Axios on HBO" aired Tuesday that he was considering signing an executive order that would eliminate birthright citizenship, meaning that children of non-citizens and illegal immigrants would not automatically be U.S. citizens if they were born on American soil. This proposal has excited some Republicans, but many have raised concerns about its constitutionality. It is likely to be a topic at the rally.
The rally in Florida is the first in a string of campaign appearances in the days before the midterm elections. Mr. Trump is visiting Tennessee, Georgia, West Virginia and Ohio before Election Day, as well as an additional rally in Florida, and two appearances each in Missouri and Indiana.
Mr. Trump has endorsed the Republican candidate for governor, Ron DeSantis, and the Republican candidate for Senate, current Governor Rick Scott.