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"We're Staring Into the Abyss": Unhinged Trump Rally in Colorado Highlights Stakes of 2020 Election, Observers Say

The president used the event to gin up xenophobia against immigrants, attack journalists, and joke about staying in office for decades.

President Donald Trump addresses supporters during rally at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado on February 20, 2020. (Photo: Jason Connolly/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump's rally in Colorado Springs Thursday night threw into sharp relief the stakes of the 2020 presidential election, observers said after watching the president joke about remaining in office for 26 years, complain that the Oscar for best picture went to a South Korean film, goad his audience into booing teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, gin up xenophobia against undocumented immigrants, and more.

"We're staring into the abyss," tweeted Vox's Aaron Rupar, who highlighted many of the bizarre moments from the rally and expressed hope that the clips will give the public "a sense of the stakes of the 2020 election."

"I don't want to alarm anyone," wrote the New Yorker's Susan Glasser as she watched the event, "but the president is now reading off 'poll' after 'poll' at his campaign rally to prove he won the debates in 2016. He is also complaining about Brad Pitt and that a South Korean movie won the Oscars and that he didn't win TIME 'Man of the Year.'"

Trump's rally came just 24 hours after Democrats vying to take on the president in the general election took the stage in Las Vegas for the ninth Democratic presidential debate.

"Some day in 10, 14, 18, 22 years when I'm gone, when we leave office in 26 years or so, they're going to miss us," Trump said Thursday night.

Trump used his rally inside the Broadmoor World Arena to mock several of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

"She choked," Trump said of Klobuchar, mimicking a gagging motion while grabbing his necktie.

Trump went on to rant about the media and journalists—who he described as "among the most dishonest people"—and complain that Thunberg was named TIME's "Person of the Year" over him.

The president's Colorado Springs rally was part of a three-event swing that will end in Nevada Friday, a day before the state's Democratic presidential caucus. The Nevada Republican Party canceled its presidential primary caucus last September, essentially handing Trump a victory without a vote.

According to the Denver Post, "as many as 20,000 people flocked to the city at the foot of Pikes Peak for Trump's rally at the Broadmoor World Arena, which holds less than half that number."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a Democratic presidential candidate, drew nearly 11,500 to a rally in Denver Sunday night.

"Our campaign is about a few fundamental issues, and at the top of the list is the need to defeat Donald Trump," Sanders said during the event. "We cannot continue to have president who is a pathological liar, who is running a corrupt administration, who has no clue what the Constitution of the United states is about, who is a bully, who is a racist, who is a sexist, who is a homophobe, who is a religious bigot."

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