Trump holds MAGA rally in Michigan – live updates

President Trump is rallying his supporters in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Thursday night, in the second rally of the year — and the first since the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation into collusion and obstruction of justice.

Days after the release of Attorney General William Barr’s summary of Mueller’s report, which Mr. Trump and Republicans claim vindicates him, the president pivoted to health care, a subject that helped propel Democrats to victory in the 2018 midterms. The Trump administration filed a lawsuit Monday night in an effort to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, which Mr. Trump and Republicans were unsuccessful doing legislatively when they controlled both chambers of Congress.

The president’s first rally of 2019 was in El Paso, Texas, as he pushed for more border wall funding. Mr. Trump’s rally begins at 7 p.m.

Trump spends his day quietly, out of sight

Aside for tweeting out some Fox News clips Thursday, the president generally kept a low profile Thursday. Mr. Trump was interviewed by Fox News’ Sean Hannity over the phone Wednesday night.

According to his schedule, the president received his intelligence briefing and had lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The president is scheduled to leave from the White House South Lawn at 4 p.m. After the rally in Michigan, he will spend the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago club in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Democratic governor’s victory shows pathway for presidential candidates in Michigan

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, demonstrates how a Democrat can win a critical swing state. She defeated her Republican opponent, Bill Schuette, by nearly 10 percent of the vote in 2018.

Whitmer’s campaign re-focused coverage on pocketbook issues, whether it was healthcare or “fix the damn roads.” Voters viewed her as someone who was serious about actually coming up with solutions that were viable and had a chance of actually passing and getting things done.

Some of the criticisms of Hillary Clinton’s campaign was that she didn’t talk about those sorts of issues and embraced more identity politics, not having a clear economic agenda. Whitmer was in a competitive primary with candidates who were running on Medicare-for-All.

Whitmer addressed universal health care as a great objective and something she would love to see, but did not to give everyone in the state of Michigan health care on the campaign trail because there was no clear path to make that happen, especially with a Republican legislature.

Grand Rapids’ population is slight more educated than the rest of the country, with 34.7 percent of residents holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 30.9 percent nationally, while incomes and home values are notably lower. In Grand Rapids, the median household income is $44,369, compared to the median household income nationally of $57,652. The median house in Grand Rapids is valued at $121,800, compared with $193,500 across the country.

— CBS News political director Caitlin Conant

Trump blindsided many Republicans with health care pivot

As CBS News’ chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett has reported, the president blindsided many Republicans by pivoting to health care so soon, particularly after they welcomed Barr’s conclusions.

Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short admitted on Fox News Wednesday the administration currently has no plan to replace Obamacare, and that’s something Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar will be working on in the weeks and months ahead.

“The Republican Party will become ‘The Party of Healthcare!” Mr. Trump tweeted Tuesday.

Mr. Trump tweeted early Thursday morning that he will be talking about “exciting things” at Thursday night’s rally.

“Will be heading to Grand Rapids, Michigan, tonight for a Big Rally. Will be talking about the many exciting things that are happening to our Country, but also the car companies, & others, that are pouring back into Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North & South Carolina & all over!” the president tweeted.

Mr. Trump won Michigan, albeit by a slim margin, in 2016, and the president has highlighted the state in his attempt to bring factory jobs back to the U.S.

Ford recently announced it will build a new factory for autonomous vehicles in the Great Lakes State, and as GM closes an auto factory in the state.

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