President Donald Trump has launched a scathing two-hour attack on his political opponents following a week of criticism and setbacks.
In a wide-ranging speech on Saturday, the president veered off-script to attack Special Counsel Robert Mueller ahead of his report on alleged Russia collusion by the Trump campaign in 2016 and claimed his critics were “trying to take me out with bull****.”
He went on to denounce Democrats as the party of “the socialist nightmare” and complained of getting “no credit” for his achievements.
His comments came at the end of a week that saw his nuclear summit with North Korea’s leader collapse without a deal, his former lawyer Michael Cohen deliver damaging congressional testimony about his character and business practices, and Congress take action to nullify his emergency declaration to secure money for his border wall.
Addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, Mr Trump hit out at events that led to the Mr Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russian interference in the presidential election.
He mocked his former attorney general Jeff Sessions and former FBI Director James Comey, both of whom Mr Trump sacked.
“We’re waiting for a report by people who weren’t elected,” Mr Trump said of the Mueller report, which is expected to be handed over to Attorney General William Barr in the coming days.
Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein appointed Mr Mueller in May 2017 to take over the Russia investigation after Mr Trump fired Mr Comey, whose agency had led the probe initially.
Mr Trump said Mr Comey was Mr Mueller’s “best friend” and implied Mr Comey should have been fired before Mr Trump took office.
“Unfortunately, you put the wrong people in a couple of positions and they leave people for a long time that shouldn’t be there and all of a sudden they are trying to take you out with bull****, ok,” Mr Trump said.
“Now Robert Mueller never received a vote and neither did the person who appointed him.”
Mr Trump lashed out at Democrats who are undertaking several new investigations against him, insisting “America will never be a socialist country… socialism is not about the environment, it’s not about justice, it’s not about virtue”.
He said it’s about “power for the ruling class”.
He also ridiculed a Democratic “green new deal” plan to fight climate change, pointing to provisions such as reducing plane flights or eating less beef.
“This is the craziest plan,” Mr Trump said.
As Mr Trump predicted he would win a second term by a greater margin than his 2016 victory, the crowds responded with chants of “USA, USA, USA”.
Mr Trump asserted that as president he was “reversing decades of blunders and betrayals” by those who preceded him in office.
“These are serious, serious betrayals to our nation and everything we stand for,” he said. “It’s been done by the failed ruling class that enriched foreign countries at our expense. It’s wasn’t America first. In many cases, it was America last.”
In a statement, Democratic National Committee spokesman Daniel Wessel said Mr Trump’s speech was “a bizarre, unhinged rant”.