SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards Thursday afternoon pushed back against some of the talking points President Donald Trump is expected to repeat at his rally later in the evening on behalf of Republican gubernatorial opponent Eddie Rispone.
“The fact of the matter is, Eddie Rispone has been feeding phony talking points the president on a whole number of issues, not just the economy,” Edwards said in a news conference at his Shreveport campaign office after visiting with volunteers to thank them for their support.
Thursday’s rally will be Trump’s third in Louisiana since October 11 in his efforts to keep Edwards from winning a second term in office – and it comes just two days before Election Day on Saturday, November 16.
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“I can tell you my opponent, Mr. Rispone, is extremely nervous and he should be,” Edwards said. “He’s invited the president for the third time to come to Louisiana to campaign for him. And obviously, he’s trying to nationalize this race, because that’s the only shot he has. He cannot win this race based only on Louisiana issues because he hasn’t demonstrated any knowledge about how state government works. He doesn’t have any vision for the state of Louisiana, and to the extent that he has spoken with any specificity about his policy proposals, they sound an awful lot like warmed-over, failed policies of Bobby Jindal that ran our state so deep into the ditch.”
Referencing some of the talking points the president has made at his last two rallies in Louisiana, Edwards pointed out that the Trump campaign sent out a series of tweets touting the state’s economy, job and wage growth, as well as the decreasing unemployment rate – even as the president was on stage in Monroe claiming the state is “worst in economic development,” and that Edwards is “trying to destroy the state’s economy by shutting down Louisiana Energy on behalf of the crazy radical far-left.”
“They said the Pelican State is booming,” Edwards said Thursday. “He was right, and what he proved was Eddie Rispone’s been lying all along. Eddie Rispone has been lying all along. These are the facts, and they support exactly what I have been saying.”
At last week’s rally in Monroe, President Trump called Edwards a “radical liberal” who has “not done the job” and claimed Edwards “will never support our Second Amendment the way we need the support.” It’s a claim that Edwards has previously addressed directly to the president on Twitter, pointing out his long-held stance in support of the right to bear arms.
“Obviously, he doesn’t know me,” Edwards said Thursday. “He doesn’t know that I’ve been a lifelong supporter of the Second Amendment. I’ve been a gun owner since I was nine years old and Santa Claus brought me a 20-gauge, feather-light Ithaca pump shotgun, that I recently was able to give to my son, John Miller.”
Edwards went on to point out that he spent many years in the U.S. Army, training on weapons he says Rispone “can’t even fathom. So the fact of the matter is, I have been a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, and I don’t hesitate to disagree with anyone who would seek to limit the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms they are guaranteed by the Second Amendment.”
President Trump has also made claims about Edwards’s record on crime, taxes, and immigration, while attempting to frame the incumbent governor as “owned by liberal trial lawyers” and inextricably tied to policies of the “crazy radical far-left” Democratic party. At the Monroe rally, Trump said Edwards “is backed by his fellow open border extremists and pro-abortion lobby,” even though Edwards has a consistent anti-abortion record and signed one of the country’s most restrictive anti-abortion bills into law in May 2019.
“You all know me, you know that I am pro-life,” said Edwards. “But my pro-life views also led me to believe that the Medicaid expansion was the right thing to do, and it has saved lives in the state of Louisiana, as well.”
“The other thing that they’ll talk about is that I’m some sort of a radical liberal. The people of Louisiana know better than that. I am squarely in the middle of the political spectrum. I have been since I first ran for office into the state legislature in 2007 and that hasn’t changed, and that’s the way we’ve been governing. What I am is a radical Louisianan.”