Trump holds 2020 reelection rally in Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump's reelection rally in Orlando, Florida:

President Donald Trump speaks during his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. | Photo Source: AP Photo / Evan Vucci

President Donald Trump told supporters in Florida that he has taken on the "political machine" during his presidency and "that is why the swamp is fighting back so viciously and violently."

President Trump formally kicked off his 2020 campaign on Tuesday by saying that "for the last 2½ years we have been under siege."

President Trump said that he has accomplished more than any other president during his first 2½ years in office.

President Trump also spoke about special counsel Robert Muller's investigation into Russian meddling in 2016, stating, "We went through the greatest witch hunt in political history."

He is proclaiming that his opponents have been given a "free pass" and told supporters: "They are really going after you. That's what this is all about."

President Trump also spoke on old trade deals.

Trump said that the U.S. is taking in billions of dollars in tariffs and that companies are leaving China as a result of the 25 percent tariffs he has imposed on $250 billion in Chinese imports. Trump is preparing to target $300 billion in Chinese imports that he hasn't already hit with tariffs.

Trump said the U.S. helped rebuild China, and "they took us for suckers, and that includes Obama and Biden."

Trump told supporters he's fighting for them. He said, "I have news for Democrats who want to return us to the bitter failures and betrayals of the past: We are not going back."

Trump also made border security a focus in his speech.

Trump said millions of low-wage workers who come to the U.S. illegally compete for wages and opportunities against the most vulnerable Americans.

Trump also said that schoolchildren across the country are being threatened by MS-13 gang members and blames "Democratic policies."

He said if Democratic officials "had to send their children to those overcrowded, overburdened schools, they would not tolerate it for one minute."

Trump has also promised to eradicate AIDS in America and to come up with cures to many diseases, "including cancer and others," during his second term.

Vice President Mike Pence said that America needs four more years of President Donald Trump.

Pence told the crowd of thousands: "It's on everybody. Time for Round 2."

Pence said Trump promised to make America great again, "and that's exactly what we've done."

Pence said the president has made unprecedented investments in securing the U.S. border with Mexico. The crowd chanted, "Build that wall!" - one of Trump's catchphrases.

He is also credited Trump with delivering 5.8 million jobs since the last election and says four more years means more jobs and judges. He said: "It's going to take at least four more years to drain that swamp."

He said, "As the campaign begins, I encourage you: Bring all your enthusiasm and have faith."

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said President Trump is "a man way out of touch with the needs of ordinary people and a man who must be defeated."

Sanders called Trump's rally "an hour and a half speech of lies, distortions, and total, absolute nonsense."

The Vermont senator was the only candidate among the nearly two dozen Democrats seeking the presidency to offer a live rebuttal immediately following the speech. Vice President Joe Biden's campaign released a statement nearly an hour before Trump was scheduled to speak.

Biden's deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said that the country faces a choice, "we can make Trump an aberration or let him fundamentally and forever alter the character of this nation."

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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