HOUSTON — President Donald Trump says more people are probably tuning into his speech in Baltimore than are watching Democratic presidential hopefuls on the debate stage in Texas.

Trump spoke Thursday to congressional Republicans attending an annual retreat in Baltimore.

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Trump said people "should be watching the debate, but they're probably watching this." His speech was aired on CSPAN, while ABC aired the debate.

The joke drew chuckles from the friendly audience of GOP members of the House.

The candidates in Texas have mentioned him frequently, including on issues of racism and shootings. Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke called Trump "a mortal threat" to people of color in the United States and accused him of inspiring the actions of the El Paso gunman who killed 22 people.

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Donald Trump at 2019 House Republican Conference in Baltimore, Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
AP