During a three-stop close to a whirlwind barnstorming tour, President Donald Trump offered a dark vision for the future if Republicans lose in Tuesday's midterm elections.
“The Democrat platform is a 2018 socialism, open borders edict,” Trump told a crowd in Cleveland on Monday afternoon, repeating his false claim that “Democrats are inviting caravan after caravan” into the country.
“Have you seen the pictures? They try and play it down like its not that many people,” Trump said of Democrats to rally-goers, sparking a chant of “Build the wall!”
At Trump's first two campaign events on Monday, he warned, without evidence, that Democrats were encouraging illegal immigrants to vote.
“As we speak, Democrats are openly encouraging millions of illegal aliens to break our laws, violate our borders and overrun our country," Trump said in Fort Wayne, Indiana. "And they want to sign them up for free welfare, free healthcare, free education and most importantly the right to vote. They want them to vote.”
At his final stop, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Trump repeated the crowd-pleasing lines and implored voters to pick Republicans at the polls.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
"I am asking every citizen, from every party, every background, every race, color and creed to reject the Democrat politics of anger, division, destruction and to unite behind our proud, noble and righteous destiny as Americans," he said.
He was joined on stage at that event by conservative talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh and Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Jeannine Pirro. Hannity, who interviewed Trump before the rally, had said on Twitter that he would not participate in campaign activities.
But when Trump invited him to the stage, Hannity praised the president and repeated one of his slogans: "Promises made, promises kept."
Hannity also slammed the press.
"By the way, all those people in the back are fake news," he said.
Pirro used her short remarks to encourage rally-goers to take friends and family to the polls to "vote for Donald Trump and all the people who are running for the Republican Party" — though Trump is not actually on the ballot this year.
While many Republican strategists have fretted over Trump's focus on immigration in the closing days of the campaign — and have urged him to stick to his message on the economy — he has declined their advice. It's an issue that motivates his political base, but also one that he talks about outside of his rallies.
"All you've got to do is go around, take a look what's happened over the years and you'll see," Trump told reporters before departing Joint Base Andrews for Ohio. "There are a lot of people ... that try and get in illegally and actually vote illegally, so we just want to let them know that there will be prosecution at the highest level."
Experts have repeatedly concluded that voter fraud is extremely rare. Even the president's own defunct voter fraud commission uncovered no evidence to back up his claim that millions voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election, according to an analysis of commission documents released in August by a former member.
The president again engaged in electoral expectations-setting, saying in Ohio that Tuesday could be a difficult day for Republicans.
“We’re at a disadvantage,” Trump said pointing to history as an indication that presidents have often lost power in Congress during their first midterm election. "But let's see what happens."
Later Monday, Trump downplayed any concern about the potential political and legal perils of a Democratic Congress.
"No, I don't care," Trump told reporters when leaving Ohio for Indiana when asked if he was at all worried about a Democratic House going after his tax returns, which he has yet to release. "They can do whatever they want, and I can do whatever I want."
He told the Fort Wayne crowd he would one day bring the country together — but not quite yet. "I do want to eventually unite, but the fact is we are driving [Democrats] crazy," Trump said. "Hopefully it is all going to come together one day, like a beautiful puzzle."