Combative Trump Arrives in Dallas for Cash and a Brief Respite From DC's Bile

Air Force One touched down at Love Field at 3:16 p.m., ferrying a president at war with much of his own party to a state where he and his brashness are a bit more popular.Before boarding Marine One at the White House, President Donald Trump paused on the South Lawn to to defend his leadership. A day earlier, two Republican senators questioned his fitness for office, echoing criticism about a lack of civility and truthfulness from former presidents and others.Trump complained about "fake stories" that paint him in a negative light, with news media routinely reporting "a lot of bad things" that aren't true about him."I went to an Ivy League college," said Trump, who graduated the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. "I was a nice student. I did very well. I'm a very intelligent person. ... I think the press creates a different image of Donald Trump than the real person."At back-to-back fund-raising events, Trump will rake in roughly $4 million for his own 2020 reelection campaign account and for the Republican Party. Donors willing to pay $100,000 will get the most face time, at an intimate gathering at the Belo Mansion downtown. Tickets started at $2,700 for a general reception -- all closed to the news media.Trump's visit started with a briefing on Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick were waiting for him at Love Field.The president's schedule has him leaving Dallas roughly 3 hours after he arrives. The White House did little to publicize the visit. Aides didn't announce the trip until late Tuesday, though word had spread weeks ago through donors, and the Trump campaign ran a contest for donors offering dinner with the president.On Tuesday, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a conservative Republican who had criticized Trump before, used a speech announcing he wouldn't run for another term to denounced the president and try to shame GOP colleagues into joining him."It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end," he said. "We must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal.... Reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior has become excused as telling it like it is, when it is actually just reckless, outrageous and undignified."Hours earlier, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee, who also is retiring from office, reiterated his own warning that Trump is mentally unstable, and leading the United States toward perilous confrontations, including a nuclear staredown with North Korea.This came days after two former presidents -- Dallas' own George W. Bush, a fellow Republican, and Trump's predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama -- issued their own warnings about the coarseness and erratic judgment of the current president.But in Dallas, Trump could expect a warm welcome from financial backers. Texas Republicans remain solidly behind him, say party leaders. At Love Field, a hundred or so enthused backers awaited his arrival.David Burraston, 38, a Fort Worth resident, called the criticisms of Trump unfair. The senators may view Trump as unfit but it's not up to them, he said."It feels like it's a trend to dump on Trump," he said. "For people that like President Trump, like myself, it's refreshing that he speaks openly.... The people decided that he's fit to be president, and the people decided he's fit to make those big decisions. We elected him. We get to decide."Patty Tellez, 63, a retired parole officer who lives in Trophy Club, was also waiting at the tarmac. She also defended the president against the growing chorus of criticism."The country needed him. He's what the American people wanted. We needed a change," she said, echoing the view that Trump's critics should defer to the will of the public. "No matter what party you're in, you're going to have people who don't like him. But the American people have spoken."  Continue reading...

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