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Trump downplays West Texas energy worries, attacks Democrats

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

President Donald Trump adjusts his jacket as he stands with Double Eagle Energy co-CEOs Cody Campbell, left, and John Sellers, right before viewing the Double Eagle Energy Oil Rig, Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Midland, Texas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump took sweeping digs at “crazy left radical Democrats” on a trip Wednesday to the fracking fields of West Texas, launching unsubstantiated claims that a Democratic administration would destroy everything from the country's suburbs to the U.S. energy industry.

Trump, speaking in front of stacked oil barrels, also played down the difficulties of the U.S. oil and gas industry, which is still struggling with the pandemic economic downturn and global oversupply that briefly drove oil prices into negative territory this spring. Prices have rebounded to around $40 a barrel, still below what some producers here need to break even.

“We’re OK now. We’re back, we’re back,” Trump said to a crowd scattered with people wearing cowboy hats and face masks. He sought to contrast his support for oil and gas with Democratic rival Joe Biden's more climate-friendly energy plan, though Biden himself has stopped short of calling for a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the production method that spurred U.S. oil and gas to a yearslong boom that started under President Barack Obama.

"If they got in, you would have no more energy coming out of the great state of Texas,'' warned Trump, whose poll numbers for the 2020 election are lagging. He claimed the same, without evidence, for Ohio and Pennsylvania, two fracking states that also are battlegrounds in the presidential race.

Speaking under a tent on a hot, windy day, Trump alluded to the opposing party in the most extreme terms, saying a Democratic White House win and the policies of the “Washington crazy left radical Democrats" would mean “the death of American prosperity. It would destroy our country.”

Trump also praised a step he took last week to rescind an Obama-era fair housing rule for low-income families, one that had Trump tweeting warnings to what he called the “Suburban Housewives of America.” “It's been hell for suburbia,” he said Wednesday.

“They want to uproot and demolish every American value. They want to wipe away every trace of religion from national life. They want to indoctrinate our children, defund our police, abolish the suburbs, incite riots and leave every city at the mercy of the radical left," Trump declared.

Trump was combining campaigning and fundraising in his first trip to an oil and gas rig and his first visit as president to the Permian Basin. He expected to raise $7 million, including $100,000 per person for one event.