President Donald Trump acknowledged during a rally Saturday in Ohio that Russia, China and possibly North Korea have meddled in U.S. affairs and that such activity may increase as the nation’s economy booms.
“It’s a lot of people. We have to stop it. We have to stop meddling and stop everybody from attacking us,” Trump said. “But there are a lot. Russia is there, China is there. We are doing well with North Korea, but they’re probably there.”
The statement broke from the president’s previous statements denying foreign interference even after several of his advisers stated there was an outside threat.
Trump had called the idea of outside interference a “Russian hoax.”
The president, who is currently under federal investigation for possible collusion with Russia, went on to say the meddling will “happen really big now” because the U.S. is “taking our wealth back.”
Trump traveled to Ohio over the weekend to try to bolster support for Republican candidate Troy Balderson, who is locked in a tight special election race with Democrat Danny O’Connor for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District.
“Troy Balderson, he is the guy that’s going to do things,” Trump said.
Trump likened Balderson’s candidacy to his own, saying he defied all expectations by taking Ohio during the 2016 election.
“Remember when they said Trump can’t do it? ” he said. “Well I took Ohio,” he exclaimed to a roaring crowd of supporters.
During the rally, Trump called up and even embraced Rep. Jim Jordan, who has been accused by former wrestlers he coached more than two decades ago at Ohio State University for failing to stop the team doctor from abusing them and others.
“What a great defender he’s been, what courage,” Trump said. “He’s a brave, tough cookie along with some of his friends.”
Jordan, who is in the running to take Paul Ryan’s spot as speaker of the house, briefly spoke at the behest of Trump, saying that the president created jobs and lowered taxes among many other achievements in the 18 months since he’s been in office.
Trump’s speech echoed much of his boilerplate stances on the border wall, overseas tariffs, as well as renewed attacks on the U.S media.
He also called out the “elite” class, saying “it drives them crazy” that he won the presidency.
“You’re smarter than they are, you make bigger incomes, you’ve got everything going, he said.
“The elite? They’re more elite than me? I have better everything than they have,” he said to the jam-packed crowd. “I became president and they didn’t.”