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story.lead_photo.caption President Donald Trump takes the stage at a campaign rally at American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

DALLAS -- President Donald Trump criticized Democrats at a rally Thursday night in Texas, calling his opponents "crazy" as they push forward on an impeachment inquiry.

A day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats walked out of a White House meeting that they said had devolved into an insult-fest, Trump denounced her as "crazy Nancy."

"She's nuts," he told the crowd at a packed stadium in Dallas.

"At stake in this fight is the survival of American democracy itself. Don't kid yourselves," Trump said, adding about the Democrats, "I really don't believe anymore that they love our country."

The comments come as Democrats continue their inquiry, deposing witness after witness as they build their case. But Trump and his campaign have tried to turn the inquiry into a rallying call for his supporters, accusing Democrats of using the constitutional process to try to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

"They're coming after and fighting you and we never lose," Trump said, predicting the 2020 election will be "a landslide" for Republicans.

Trump also continued his attacks on former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter's work for a Ukraine energy company. Trump's request to Ukrainian officials to investigate the Biden family are at the heart of the Democrats' inquiry into whether Trump compromised national security and used his office to try to bolster his 2020 chances by pushing foreign governments to investigate one of his Democratic rivals.

Trump also took a few swipes at Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke.

The president seized on how O'Rourke proposed a mandatory buyback of assault-style rifles and his comments during a town hall last week that, if elected, he would seek to revoke the tax-exempt status of religious institutions that oppose same-sex marriage.

"Beto, in a few short weeks, got rid of guns and got rid of religion. Those are not two good things in Texas to get rid of," Trump said Thursday.

Trump said he hopes O'Rourke ends his presidential bid to make a second run for Senate, this time against Republican Sen. John Cornyn.

"John Cornyn is going to win so easily, just like Ted Cruz won," he said.

O'Rourke was holding a counter-rally protesting Trump's appearance in nearby Grand Prairie on Thursday.

Also Thursday, Trump said his energy secretary Rick Perry, who also served as the governor of Texas from 2000-2015, will leave his post by the end of the year.

Perry has drawn scrutiny for his role in the Ukraine controversy. Perry's resignation had been anticipated for several weeks.

Trump said he already knows who will succeed Perry, but declined to identify the person.

Earlier in the day, Trump toured a new Louis Vuitton leather workshop in north central Texas and attended a fundraiser in Fort Worth that, combined with a pre-rally reception in Dallas, brought in $5.5 million, according to the Republican National Committee.

Trump carried the GOP stronghold and its 38 Electoral College votes by 9 points in 2016.

As he campaigns for a second term, Trump's team has tried to focus attention on economic gains over the past three years, including the low unemployment rate. Pressing that message, Trump cut the ribbon at a new production facility for the luxury brand Louis Vuitton in Alvarado with his elder daughter, Ivanka.

Trump joked that the company, which is known for its logoed handbags and luggage, has cost him "a lot of money over the years." His wife, first lady Melania Trump, has repeatedly been spotted traveling with the brand.

"This workshop will soon employ 500 of the most highly skilled workers anywhere in the world," Trump said. "No one can match the precision and perfection of an American artisan."

Trump's campaign and the RNC have been raking in record money, raising $125 million in the third quarter of 2019 and smashing the just over $70 million former President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee raised in the third quarter of 2011.

Information for this article was contributed by Jill Colvin and Matthew Daly of The Associated Press; and by Maggie Haberman and Lisa Friedman of The New York Times.

A Section on 10/18/2019

Print Headline: Don't think Democrats love U.S., Trump tells rally

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