ALVARADO, Texas (AP) – President Donald Trump toured a new Louis Vuitton leather workshop in Texas on Thursday before headlining a campaign rally in Dallas.
Trump began his trip at a fundraiser in Fort Worth that raised about $5.5 million for Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee benefiting the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee. Looking to promote new jobs, Trump then toured the Louis Vuitton plant in Alvarado with his elder daughter, Ivanka.
“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.”
The Texas visit comes at a critical time for Trump, whose dealings with the president of Ukraine are the subject of a quickly unfolding impeachment inquiry run by House Democrats. While Republicans have largely defended Trump, they have sounded alarms over his decision to pull U.S. troops out of northeast Syria – a move that paved the way for Turkey to invade and assault the Kurds, who’d fought alongside the U.S. in its campaign against Islamic State militants.
Upon landing in Texas on Thursday, Trump credited his threat of sanctions on Turkey and the violence that has taken place for the announcement of a cease-fire, though critics say Trump green-lit the incursion and put the Kurdish forces in danger by announcing a U.S. troop withdrawal. Trump described the cease-fire as an “incredible outcome” that could not have occurred “unless you went somewhat unconventional.”
A White House meeting between Trump and congressional lawmakers to discuss the situation Wednesday devolved into an insult-fest, with the president calling Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “third-grade politician,” and Pelosi and other top Democrats storming out.
Trump and Pelosi continued to trade jabs after the meeting, with each accusing the other of having a meltdown.
Texas is an important state for Republicans. Trump carried the Republican stronghold and its 38 Electoral College votes by 9 points in 2016. But Democrats have pointed to demographic trends as well as the fact that Republican Sen. Ted Cruz won reelection by just over 2 points last year as evidence that the second-most-populous state could soon be in play.
Trump’s campaign and the RNC have been raking in money, raising a record $125 million in the third quarter of this year. By comparison, former President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee raised just over $70 million in the third quarter of 2011 for his reelection campaign.