sunny.png
Thursday December 12th, 2019 8:12AM

'Welcome to Minneapolis': Trump rally roils liberal bastion

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The conflict and Twitter battles arrived in Minnesota well ahead of President Donald Trump's touchdown in the state.

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 warmup to Trump's first campaign rally since being engulfed in the swirl of an impeachment investigation, an event expected to pack an extra punch. Heading to Omar's home turf, a liberal outpost in the Midwest, Trump quickly stirred up passions and partisanship as few politicians can.

Trump will land 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 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 Trump is trying to tip his way next year.

At a White House event Wednesday, Trump made it clear he was looking forward to the rally.

"I think it's a great state, and we're going to have a lot of fun tomorrow night," he said.

Minneapolis is a difficult place for the president to try to bask in the glow of support. Trump won just 18% of the vote in the dense, relatively 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 whom 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. Trump supporters broke into chants of "Send her back!" at a rally this summer in North Carolina.

The episode is weighing heavily on Trump's Thursday rally. It drew criticism from fellow Republicans uncomfortable with the prospect of putting race at the center of the campaign.

Some lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and some of the president's closest outside advisers privately warned Trump about the damage those chants could inflict on the GOP, according to four Republicans close to the White House who were not authorized to discuss private conversations. They believed the sight of thousands of mostly white attendees chanting "Send her back!" would dominate news coverage and turn off moderate voters, particularly women and suburbanites.

Trump has held four rallies since. The chant has not erupted since.

Still, the attacks on the "socialist" wing of the Democratic Party are the heart of Trump's plan to hold onto the Rust Belt and become the first Republican presidential candidate to carry Minnesota since Richard Nixon in 1972. Trump fell about 45,000 votes short of beating Democrat Hillary Clinton statewide in 2016. 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 a 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.

___

Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire in Washington contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bipartisan Senate bill would halt arms sales to Turkey
A bipartisan Senate bill would halt U.S. military assistance to Turkey because of its invasion of northern Syria.
6:44PM ( 8 minutes ago )
California power outage: What happens when the lights go out
A Q&A about California's power outage and why the lights are going out to avert wildfires
6:41PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Defying impeachment inquiry, Trump makes charge more certain
The White House's letter vowing to defy an "illegitimate" inquiry has put President Donald Trump on a more certain path to impeachment
6:39PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
US moves Islamic State prisoners as Turkey attacks Syria
President Donald Trump says the U.S. has moved some Islamic State prisoners amid fears some could escape custody as Turkey invades northeast Syria
6:06PM ( 46 minutes ago )
Florida congressman turns Trump support into recognition
Long before Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz was calling the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee "Captain Kangaroo," he built a reputation as an agitator who wasn't shy about calling out other lawmakers on social media
5:54PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Sanders: I misspoke when I mentioned slowing campaign pace
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he "misspoke" when he told reporters he may slow his frenetic campaigning pace after his recent heart attack
5:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
For 1st time, Biden declares Trump must be impeached
Joe Biden is saying for the first time that President Donald Trump must be impeached for abusing the powers of his office to secure his own re-election
6:12PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Warren pledges to skip big fundraisers if she's Dem nominee
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren says she'll keep shunning large-dollar fundraisers if she wins the nomination, continuing a strategy she's used in the primary
3:25PM ( 3 hours ago )
For 1st time, Joe Biden calls for Trump to be impeached
Joe Biden is saying for the first time that President Donald Trump must be impeached for abusing the powers of his office to secure his own re-election
3:19PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Elections
Senators warn of foreign social media meddling in US vote
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is urging President Donald Trump to warn the public about efforts by foreign governments to interfere in U.S. elections
8:44PM ( 22 hours ago )
Recuperating Sanders tells aides he's committed to 2020 race
Vermont senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders says he was "dumb" not to have listened to the symptoms he was experiencing before he was stricken with a heart attack last week
6:49PM ( 1 day ago )
Bernie Sanders says he should have listened to his symptoms
Vermont senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders says he was "dumb" not to have listened to the symptoms he was experiencing before he was stricken with a heart attack last week
3:47PM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
Profit, not politics: Trump allies sought Ukraine gas deal
A circle of businessmen and Republican donors touted their connections to Trump and Giuliani as they sought to install new management at the top of Ukraine's state-owned gas company
2:38PM ( 1 day ago )
Warren stands by account of once being fired for pregnancy
Elizabeth Warren is standing by her account of being fired from a teaching job nearly 50 years ago because she was pregnant
2:26PM ( 1 day ago )
GOP firepower aims to oust Democratic Louisiana governor
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is battling to hold onto the Democrats' only governorship in the Deep South, with an onslaught of national GOP firepower aimed at ousting him
12:30PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
Sanders releases campaign finance plan while recuperating
Bernie Sanders unveils major campaign finance plan, continuing his presidential bid even as he's at home recuperating from a heart attack
6:00AM ( 2 days ago )
2nd whistleblower adds to impeachment peril at White House
Another whistleblower has spoken to the intelligence community's internal watchdog, has information that backs the original whistleblower's complaint about Trump's call
9:23PM ( 2 days ago )
Lawyer: 2nd Trump whistleblower spoke to inspector general
A second whistleblower has spoken to the intelligence community's internal watchdog and has information that backs the original whistleblower's complaint about President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine
1:23PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
Democrats issue subpoenas to Esper, White House budget chief
House Democrats leading an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine have issued subpoenas to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and acting White House budget director Russell Vought
3:29PM ( 2 days ago )
Profit, not politics: What some Trump allies did in Ukraine
US Energy Secretary Rick Perry pushed to place someone reputable in Republican circles on the supervisory board of Ukraine's state-owned gas company, person present during meeting at which topic was discussed tells AP
10:45AM ( 2 days ago )
AP sources: Trump allies sought changes at Ukraine utility
AP sources: Trump and Giuliani allies tried to change the leadership at Ukraine's state-own gas company
7:56AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Bipartisan Senate bill would halt arms sales to Turkey
A bipartisan Senate bill would halt U.S. military assistance to Turkey because of its invasion of northern Syria.
6:44PM ( 9 minutes ago )
California power outage: What happens when the lights go out
A Q&A about California's power outage and why the lights are going out to avert wildfires
6:41PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Defying impeachment inquiry, Trump makes charge more certain
The White House's letter vowing to defy an "illegitimate" inquiry has put President Donald Trump on a more certain path to impeachment
6:39PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Trump's Syria announcement blindsided many GOP supporters
When it came to President Donald Trump's announcement that U.S. forces would no longer protect Syrian Kurds from a Turkish invasion, his supporters knew as little as his critics
6:29PM ( 23 minutes ago )
NBA postpones media sessions in Shanghai amid China rift
NBA postpones Wednesday's scheduled media sessions in Shanghai for the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers
6:27PM ( 25 minutes ago )