President Trump told a Janesville rally tonight the outcome of the election rests on Wisconsin.
“We win Wisconsin, we win the whole ballgame,” he said. “What the hell do you think I’m doing here on a freezing night with 45-degree winds? You think I’m doing it for my health? I’m not doing this for my health.”
Trump has consistently trailed in publicly released polls of Wisconsin voters after winning the state by 22,748 votes four years ago in a surprise victory. He urged supporters to turn out this fall, arguing the polls are off like they were in 2016.
The president was supposed to be in Wisconsin Oct. 3, but canceled after he was diagnosed with COVID-19. He crowed his COVID-19 diagnosis made him immune to the virus.
“I didn’t feel good, I’ll be honest with you,” he said during his sixth trip to Wisconsin of the year. “I wasn’t feeling so good, I wasn’t feeling like your president has to feel, I wasn’t feeling like Superman. I can now jump into the audience and give them all a big kiss, the woman and the men, I’ll even kiss the men.”
Trump’s 90-minute long address largely hit on his common themes from his standard stump speech. Among other things, he called Joe Biden’s family “a criminal enterprise,” saying it “makes Hillary Clinton look like an amateur.”
But he went on several Wisconsin-specific riffs, including taking credit for settling unrest in Kenosha after the August police shooting of Jacob Blake. However, he also praised Gov. Tony Evers on his decision to deploy the Wisconsin National Guard to the city.
“If I didn’t get involved, there would be no Kenosha right now,” he told the crowd before adding, “I’ll tell you what, I give your governor credit. At least he said, “let’s go in, let’s solve the problem. Better late than never.”
Later in the speech, Trump said that the guv was a “nice guy, probably,” meeting with scattered boos from the crowd. He also said Wisconsin needs a Republican governor because, “You’ve got to open it up.”
Trump also took a dig at Evers over Foxconn after the company failed to qualify for tax credits for its project in southeastern Wisconsin. The Evers administration has informed the company it has failed to live up to the contract the Taiwanese manufacturer signed under Gov. Scott Walker. Trump said “they don’t want to invest with these people.”
Ahead of the rally, Dems slammed Trump for going forward with the event despite Wisconsin’s continued status as one of the nation’s hotspots for COVID-19. The state reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases on Friday — the third time that happened in the previous week — and reported new highs for daily deaths and hospitalizations. In a call ahead of his event, state Rep. Deb Kolste, D-Janesville and a former medical technologist, called it “the pinnacle of irresponsibility and callous negligence for Trump to come to our city and hold a rally that could become a superspreader event.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., traveled to Madison and Milwaukee for drive-in rallies urging people to vote. In Madison, supporters honked their horns in an east side parking lot as the former presidential candidate ripped into Trump. She said elections are about holding people accountable and replacing them “when they’ve failed us.”
Warren said Trump is “trying to steal another Supreme Court seat” with the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, has failed to acknowledge racism in the U.S. and still doesn’t have a national plan to address COVID-19 eight months into the pandemic.
“People continue to die, hundreds a day, she said. “On Nov. 3, we will hold Donald Trump accountable.”
Before the president took the stage, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, was among those who warmed up the crowd while the president was still speaking at a Michigan rally. Johnson warned a Dem takeover of Washington, D.C., would allow them to pack the U.S. Supreme Court, pass the Green New Deal, and grant statehood to the nation’s capital and Puerto Rico.
He also dismissed the portrait of Republicans as angry, saying he said a celebration of America before him.
“You know who doesn’t particularly like America? Joe Biden supporters,” Johnson said.
During the rally, Trump called Johnson onto the stage, calling him “one of the greatest people,” saying he was looking to root out corruption as chair of Homeland Security.
Onstage, Johnson said of the president, “he wakes up every day like the rest of you, loving this country and wanting to make it a better country.”