Mr. Trump’s decision to hold a rally and immerse himself in the warmth of an adoring crowd at the critical juncture in his presidency was an echo of how he handled his worst public humiliation — the revelation of the “Access Hollywood” tape on Oct. 7, 2016, during the final days of his 2016 presidential campaign.
After holing up at Trump Tower the day after that video was released, Mr. Trump emerged after seeing on television that a crowd supporters had gathered on Fifth Avenue. He walked through the glass doors, pumped his fist in the air, and then walked back into his building, clapping his hands as if cheering himself on.
On Wednesday night, Mr. Trump appeared to rally his own spirits by reminiscing about his 2016 victory in front of an adoring crowd, and taunting the 2020 Democratic presidential field. “She’s gasping for air,” he said of Senator Elizabeth Warren, while poking fun at the pronunciation of Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s name.
The rambling performance was vintage Trump, hitting on his favorite targets, like Lisa Page, the former F.B.I. lawyer, and James Comey, the former F.B.I. director. “Did I do a great job when I fired his ass?” he said.
But his anger at the House Democrats rang through his speech. At one point, Mr. Trump said that Americans would show up next year to “vote Pelosi the hell out of office.”
The crowd later seemed perplexed when he attacked Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan, who he noted voted for impeachment despite the fact that Mr. Trump lowered the flags for her late husband, longtime Representative John Dingell. “Maybe he’s looking up” instead of looking down, Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Trump, described by his aides as having been in a frustrated, snappish mood for days, traveled to the rally in an electorally vital state after watching the impeachment debate on television and tweeting or retweeting more than 50 times.