President Trump’s Thursday town hall meeting in Missouri will face immediate competition from the Democratic primaries, which have been expanding to include higher-profile potential candidates.
After the news emerged, a press aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders, the presidential candidate who got the event canceled, had a public exchange with the White House.
“Eek!!! This is not what the Democratic party needs right now,” said Gus Garcia, the deputy press secretary to the Vermont independent. He attached to his tweet an image of former Vice President Joe Biden, who is not seen in the picture.
This, Mr. Garcia said, is “appalling.”
“This is the type of offensive and disrespectful behavior that we saw and continue to see from Donald Trump,” he said.
And he said that Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was “disrespectful” when, while campaigning for a Trump-bashing book she was promoting, she said in a written op-ed that the president should not be given a Medal of Freedom “like a king.”
Mr. Garcia said he could not decide who he was trying to rally, Sanders or Warren, “But this doesn’t inspire confidence.”
At the same time, Mr. Garcia said he was “delighted” to see Mr. Trump stepping up the frequency of town halls, adding: “It’s a change and good thing.”
Mr. Garcia said he hoped Mr. Trump would “admit that the real face of the Republican Party is Donald Trump.”
“The American people don’t want a reality TV star as president,” he said.
Mr. Trump said on Friday that he was on his way to St. Louis to meet with coal miners.
“We have a lot of coal miners and good labor labor union people who are amazing people,” he said, by phone, from the White House.
Mr. Trump later tweeted that his visit to Missouri would be about “jobs, not politics,” and be “TRUE”
“Fascinating, that they were not given a prior call-in.”
When asked how he’d get a clearer picture of the economy, Mr. Trump said he’d be back to Missouri in a week.