President Donald Trump lent a hand to Gov. Matt Bevin’s reelection effort on Monday, headlining a rally in Lexington hours before Kentuckians head to the polls to weigh in on whether to keep Bevin for another four years.
At the rally, Trump teased Bevin, telling the audience that the Kentucky governor is a “pain” because he is frequently asking the federal government for aid.
“I say ‘Matt, do I have to do it? Please, please.’ But isn’t that what you want in a governor? That’s what you want,” Trump said.
“He’s such a pain in the ass, but that’s what you want.”
Trump spoke for more than an hour to a packed crowd at Rupp Arena in Lexington and was joined by both of Kentucky’s U.S. senators and all five of the state’s Republican congressmen.
Trump painted Democrats in dark terms, saying they want to “erase our traditions, our culture, our history and our heroes” and claiming the party wants to abolish the Second Amendment.
“They want to subjugate you and break you to their will. But Kentucky will never be broken, Kentucky can’t be broken. You’re too strong and you’re too smart,” Trump said.
Trump stuck to national issues for much of his speech, railing against congressional Democrats for launching an impeachment inquiry into his behavior with the Ukrainian president and making fun of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Trump encouraged Kentuckians to vote, saying if Republicans lose “it sends a bad message.”
“Here’s the story, if you win, they’re going to be like ‘ho-hum’ and if you lose, they’re going to say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world,” Trump said. “You can’t let that happen to me.”
The rally continued Bevin’s campaign strategy of tying himself to Trump’s popularity in Kentucky after being tagged as one of the most unpopular governors in the country in polls.
Bevin spoke nearly two hours before Trump arrived at Rupp Arena, telling the crowd to fight against “evil knocking at the door in this world and in America.”
“Are we going to let people like Nancy Pelosi and the squad to impeach this president and make a mockery of the political process?” Bevin said.
Bevin has been joined by a handful of Trump administration officials and surrogates during his campaign over the past month, including Vice President Mike Pence, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Bevin has developed a bitter rivalry with his opponent in this year’s race, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear.
Beshear has used his office to file several lawsuits against Bevin over his use of executive authority, a pension reform bill and an investigation into teachers who called in sick to protest his policies.
Republican candidate for Attorney General Daniel Cameron also spoke, encouraging the crowd to boo reporters covering the event.
“The liberals who run the newspapers and the Democratic Party in this state cannot stand to see a conservative African American on this stage tonight,” Cameron said.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. local time on Tuesday. For more information about what’s on your ballot, check out our comprehensive voter guide.