MUSKEGON, MI – President Trump told thousands of Muskegon supporters on Saturday that his re-election would bring an economic surge to the country and that victory for his opponent, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, would bring a downturn.
“If you vote for me, prosperity will surge. Next year will be one of the greatest years in the history of the nation,” he told thousands who showed up for a speech that lasted more than 90 minutes.
It was a familiar mantra for Trump and one that drew cheers from the crowd.
Trump’s visit to the Muskegon County Airport capped a busy week in Michigan for campaign stops. Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden spoke in Southfield on Friday and Vice President Mike Pence came to Grand Rapids on Wednesday.
For next week, the Trump campaign has lined up Ivanka Trump to speak in Grand Rapids on Monday and Eric Trump to speak in Lansing on Tuesday. They are the president’s children.
As in the 2016 election, Michigan is shaping up to be a key state for both candidates.
An exuberant crowd, many wearing MAGA hats or other Trump campaign merchandise, filed in for the rally. Although it was billed as a speech to support law enforcement, Trump only briefly spoke about police.
Coach buses transported people from parking lots a few miles from the airport to the rally site. Mask use was mixed among the crowd, although free masks and hand sanitizer were distributed at the entrance.
Trump used the rally to attack Biden, but also to take jabs at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. On at least one occasion during the lengthy speech, as he talked about economic repercussions of coronavirus, the crowd began to chant “lock her up.”
He referenced the alleged kidnapping plot against Whitmer that now has 14 people facing charges.
To view the Trump rally photo gallery, click here
“I guess they say she was threatened. And she blamed me,” he said. “And our people (FBI) were the ones that worked with her people. So let’s see what happens.”
He referenced Whitmer’s coronavirus-related restrictions and, later, the recent state Supreme Court ruling that overturned her authority.
“You got to get your governor to open up your state, OK,” Trump said. “And get your schools open. The schools have to be open,” he said, seemingly ignoring that most restrictions were lifted earlier this ear and schools are open except for in instances of COVID-19 outbreaks.
Later in the speech, he said that “Democrats would terminate our recovery with a draconian, unscientific lockdown like your governor is doing right now.”
It was then that his comments brought chanting from the crowd “lock her up.”
The speech and crowd reaction drew responses on social media from Michigan’s elected leaders, including Whitmer.
“This is exactly the rhetoric that has put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger while we try to save the lives of our fellow Americans. It needs to stop,” Whitmer wrote in a Tweet.
Michigan’s Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, who was at the rally, later Tweeted about the crowd’s reaction.
“I was proud to speak in support of the President tonight! I’m excited to vote for him again. And no, Trump didn’t chant “lock her up” about our Governor. But others did and it was wrong. She was literally just targeted. Let’s debate differences. Let’s win elections. But not that,” he wrote.
Trump touched on a variety of issues — foreign trade deals, coronavirus, jobs, the southern border wall, ballot fraud — often skipping quickly from one to another. He mentioned accomplishments under his administration to get funding to renovate the Soo Locks and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
Trump described the Nov. 3 election as “the most important election in the history of our country” and called on supporters to “just make sure you vote.”
After the speech, at least one Trump supporter said the speech was energizing.
Tom Gowin carried a “Four More Years” sign and wore a Trump hat.
“I went to another rally in 2016 and voted for him then. He’s exceeded every expectation I’ve had. He’s a great president,” he said.
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