Trump, Again, Links His National Clout to Outcome in State-Level Race

BOSSIER CITY, La. — President Trump urged Louisiana voters on Thursday to “send a message to the corrupt Democrats in Washington” by electing to governor the Republican nominee, Eddie Rispone, directly linking the impeachment inquiry to a state election that will test his clout in the Deep South.

Addressing supporters at his second rally in two weeks in heavily Republican north Louisiana, and his first since Democrats began public impeachment hearings, Mr. Trump dutifully read from his prepared text in an effort to rouse conservatives ahead of Saturday’s election.

“You will deliver a powerful rebuke to the socialists trying to demolish our democracy,” he told an arena full of enthusiasts here along the Red River.

But he also let slip his more personal interest in the Louisiana election, where Gov. John Bel Edwards is seeking re-election, by recalling the negative headlines he received earlier this month in another race. Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky, a Republican, lost his re-election a day after Mr. Trump rallied supporters in the state.

“You got to give me a big win, please, O.K.,” the president pleaded with his supporters.

Mr. Trump was hoping to break open a deadlocked race between Mr. Rispone and Mr. Edwards, a moderate Democrat who has carefully avoided criticizing the president in a state where he remains fairly popular.

With House Democrats accelerating their investigation into Mr. Trump’s conduct with Ukraine, the White House is eager to show that his core supporters remain loyal and that he can deliver a victory in a state he carried by 20 points.

Calling Democrats “crazed lunatics,” he repeatedly insisted he did nothing wrong in his efforts to urge the Ukranians to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. And, by way of professing his innocence, he noted that he dethroned the Bush, Clinton and Obama “dynasties” in 2016 and hardly required foreign interference to win re-election.

“We need help to beat Sleepy Joe Biden? I don’t think so.”

Mr. Trump also claimed with no evidence that congressional Republicans find the impeachment proceedings politically beneficial and have urged him to “keep this sucker going for a while.”

But the president made clear he wasn’t much enjoying his status as the fourth American president to face impeachment and in a rare moment of reflection he allowed that the process was “very hard on my family.”

“What a life I lead,” he said. “You think this is fun, don’t you.”

Mr. Trump’s introspection was fleeting, however, and he soon returned to his familiar repertoire of hits, belittling his Democratic antagonists on Capitol Hill and at one point venturing that Representative Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, didn’t have what it takes to suit up for Louisiana State University’s top-ranked football team.

As for Mr. Biden, the president said he’d gladly face off with him in the general election but warned the crowd that they would witness “the lowest ratings in the history of debates” because the Democratic front-runner “is a very sleepy person.”

The president delivered the soundbyte-ready lines he came armed with against Mr. Edwards, calling the pro-gun rights and anti-abortion rights Democrat a tool of Washington liberals.

“A vote for John Bel Edwards is a vote for radical leftists,” Mr. Trump said.

At another point, he offered an even more demagogic line in a part of Louisiana that bears the scars of an ugly racial history.

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