President Trump confronts liberal Minneapolis ahead of key rally

President Donald Trump - AP image

The strategy is at the heart of Trump's plan to hold on to the Rust Belt and become the first Republican presidential candidate to carry Minnesota since Richard Nixon in 1972.

Posted: Oct 9, 2019 3:10 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The conflict on which President Donald Trump thrives arrived in Minnesota well ahead of his touchdown in the liberal heart of a state he craves to win next year.

Trump traded Twitter insults with the Minneapolis mayor over who should pay more than $500,000 in security costs for Thursday's rally at a downtown arena. He denounced Jacob Frey as a "Radical Left" lightweight and blasted the Democrat for a police policy banning officers from wearing their uniforms in support of political candidates. He sprinkled in a reference to his favorite foil — the city's Rep. Ilhan Omar — just for good measure.

"Yawn," Frey tweeted back. "Welcome to Minneapolis where we pay our bills, we govern with integrity, and we love all of our neighbors."

It was just a warm-up to Trump's first campaign rally since being engulfed in the swirl of an impeachment investigation. The event is expected to carry extra partisan punch. Trump lands in Minnesota as polls show Americans' support for impeachment and for removing him from office have ticked up in the weeks since House Democrats launched an impeachment investigation.

While his GOP allies have launched a campaign to reverse the trend, Trump's self-defense may be the best preview of how he intends to fight back in the weeks ahead.

"He needs to be able to show right now, given all of this impeachment stuff, that America is rallying to his defense. And I don't think that that is going to be the optic that's created," said Ken Martin, the state Democratic chairman.

Both sides are tuned in to the symbolism of the moment. The rally at Target Center— the city's basketball arena— is expected to draw thousands of passionate supporters as well as protesters outside. Trump will be joined by Vice President Mike Pence, who had a separate schedule of appearances in the state this week.

Minneapolis is a difficult place for the president to try to bask in the glow of support. Trump won just 18 percent of the vote in the dense, diverse and liberal congressional district where he's staging his rally.

But the venue serves another purpose: The district is now held by Omar, the Somali-American lawmaker Trump often holds up as a symbol of the liberal shift in the Democratic Party. It's a message viewed as racist by some. He has tweeted that Omar should "go back" to her home country if she wants to criticize the U.S., and the comments are sure to inflame passions on both sides.

The strategy is at the heart of Trump's plan to hold on to the Rust Belt and become the first Republican presidential candidate to carry Minnesota since Richard Nixon in 1972. Trump fell fewer than 45,000 votes short of beating Democrat Hillary Clinton statewide. He's had staff in the state since June, and they have been busy building a network to turn out supporters next November.

The campaign needs to pump up Trump's support in the rural and suburban areas he carried in 2016 to overcome Democratic strength in Minneapolis, St. Paul and some other cities, plus suburbs that swung Democratic in 2018. The Minneapolis rally will also win media coverage well into western Wisconsin, widely seen as a critical battleground in 2020.

GOP Rep. Tom Emmer, who leads the House Republican campaign arm and will attend the rally, said the opposition to Trump's visit could backfire on Democrats. Emmer was among Republicans accusing Frey of trying to block Trump's rally.

Federal campaign law does not require presidential campaign committees to pay for expenses incurred by state and local governments in connection with a campaign event.

"I think this visceral hatred, the blatant attempt to shut down some people's point of view and deny thousands of Minnesotans their voice ... I think Democrats are going to pay for it at the ballot box next November," Emmer said.

Indeed, the rally plans provoked strong passions.

Omar, whose family fled Somalia when she was a child and who became an American in 2000, tweeted shortly after the trip was announced: "Our beautiful state welcomes everyone with open arms. But to be clear: we will continue to reject you and your campaign of lies and bigotry."

Sophia Jungers, 21, of Minneapolis, was planning to protest Thursday, just as she did when Trump rallied in the southern Minnesota city of Rochester last October.

"I feel like we're falling apart as a democracy, and we're not taking advantage of all the voices that need to be heard," said Jungers, a University of Minnesota student.

Michelle Urevig-Grilz, 49, a teacher from suburban Ramsey who identified herself as a longtime Republican voter but Trump opponent, said she was considering joining the protests.

"He's a misogynist pig. He always has been. ... And it is surprising to me how many women voters did vote for Trump. That's absolutely scary," she said.

But few of Trump's Minnesota supporters could be more excited than Mike Lindell, known to TV viewers nationwide as the "MyPillow guy" after the pillow company he founded.

Lindell, a significant donor who has appeared at previous Trump rallies, credits the president with creating a booming economy and giving entrepreneurs like him the confidence to take chances. He said he's scheduled to speak Thursday.

"Everybody voted for him on faith that there would be something good, finally, and boy has he provided it," Lindell said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 128152

Reported Deaths: 2354
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin33024980
Ramsey13609355
Dakota9467136
Anoka8324150
Stearns554641
Washington539968
Scott326534
Olmsted315930
St. Louis279765
Wright233214
Nobles219516
Clay215343
Blue Earth20037
Carver17247
Kandiyohi16395
Sherburne160621
Rice15929
Mower149915
Winona122518
Crow Wing94721
Lyon9416
Chisago9202
Waseca9199
Benton8827
Beltrami8397
Otter Tail7896
Todd7525
Steele7342
Nicollet70017
Itasca69617
Morrison6578
Freeborn6494
Douglas6323
Martin60216
Le Sueur5985
McLeod5764
Watonwan5724
Polk5574
Goodhue54211
Becker5193
Pine5190
Isanti5115
Chippewa4153
Carlton4031
Dodge3790
Mille Lacs37613
Hubbard3462
Cass3445
Wabasha3430
Pipestone33616
Meeker3183
Brown3113
Rock3113
Yellow Medicine2715
Cottonwood2650
Unassigned26553
Murray2643
Redwood26011
Fillmore2450
Sibley2423
Renville23711
Faribault2210
Roseau2160
Wadena2082
Jackson2041
Kanabec19410
Swift1931
Houston1861
Stevens1741
Lincoln1720
Pennington1711
Koochiching1644
Aitkin1592
Pope1520
Big Stone1310
Lac qui Parle1303
Wilkin1274
Lake1110
Norman1050
Mahnomen1041
Marshall971
Grant924
Clearwater880
Red Lake662
Traverse540
Lake of the Woods431
Kittson370
Cook110

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111117

Reported Deaths: 1587
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk18419283
Woodbury697994
Johnson571730
Black Hawk535098
Linn5245129
Dubuque489654
Scott421037
Story391018
Dallas336944
Pottawattamie309144
Sioux234314
Buena Vista222512
Marshall195936
Webster178914
Plymouth159426
Wapello149462
Clinton140926
Muscatine139358
Crawford133712
Des Moines13059
Cerro Gordo130423
Warren11856
Carroll107212
Jasper105534
Henry10075
Marion95710
Tama91837
Lee90710
Delaware72912
Dickinson7117
Wright7071
Boone6969
Mahaska65924
Bremer6389
Washington62711
Harrison6238
Jackson5583
Benton5381
Lyon5287
Louisa50715
Clay5044
Hamilton4613
Winnebago45818
Winneshiek4559
Hardin4495
Kossuth4460
Poweshiek44111
Floyd42411
Jones4223
Cedar4205
Buchanan4194
Emmet41517
Iowa3948
Cherokee3832
Franklin37818
Sac3774
Guthrie37615
Clayton3753
Page3740
Shelby3601
Mills3551
Butler3542
Fayette3543
Cass3512
Madison3512
Allamakee3438
Chickasaw3381
Clarke3283
Humboldt3083
Hancock2984
Palo Alto2982
Grundy2895
Calhoun2854
Howard2619
Osceola2610
Monroe25111
Mitchell2380
Monona2361
Taylor2302
Union2194
Appanoose2173
Pocahontas2172
Jefferson2121
Lucas1976
Fremont1881
Ida1842
Greene1820
Van Buren1662
Davis1634
Montgomery1616
Adair1481
Keokuk1481
Decatur1430
Audubon1381
Worth1340
Wayne1133
Ringgold832
Adams700
Unassigned140
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