Trump in Racine dwells on immigration, claims economy is a wreck (2024)

Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Eric Hovde, right, speaks while former President Donald Trump, left, takes a break during his rally in Racine Tuesday. (Screenshot | C-SPAN)

Donald Trump took the stage in Racine Tuesday afternoon crowing the praises of Milwaukee, a week after he was reported to have said the city where the Republican National Convention will take place in July “is a horrible city.”

At an outdoor arena in Downtown Racine on the shores of Lake Michigan, Trump went on to spend an hour and a half describing President Joe Biden’s presidency as a disaster that he will end if voters return him to the White House in November after a four-year absence.

“We were respected all over the world. None of this stuff would have been happening that’s happened now, with Russia and Ukraine and the attack on Israel,” Trump declared.

“We’re going to make it better and bigger and stronger than ever before,” Trump said. “But you had a president who put America first — I put America first. They don’t put — under kooky Joe Biden the world is in flames, our border is overrun, inflation is raging, Europe is in total chaos, the Middle East is exploding, Iran is emboldened, China is on the march, and the worst, most incompetent, most corrupt president in history is going to drag us into World War III.”

Well into his speech, Trump ticked off a couple of hot-button topics — mocking transgender athletes competing on women’s teams and vowing as president to deny funding to any school district with vaccine mandates.

And throughout he returned to the claim that the 2020 election, which Biden won by 21,000 votes in Wisconsin and 7 million votes nationwide, was rife with voter fraud, a charge that has been repeatedly refuted.

But the bulk of his speech returned again and again to immigration as he reeled off debunked claims about the flow of immigrants into the U.S. across the southern border. Trump also rewrote the economic and public health history of his last year in office and amplified false claims about Biden’s mental acuity.

A day of firsts

The adulation for Milwaukee with which Trump opened his speech marked his latest pivot on the subject of the RNC convention city since his comment calling it “a horrible city” in a closed-door meeting with Republican members of Congress a week ago. Trump initially admitted the comment, saying he was speaking of crime and the city’s 2020 vote count, which he lost decisively, and several of the Wisconsin representatives present corroborated the choice of words.

Trump later denied the account on his social media platform, however. And Tuesday he declared, “I love Milwaukee,” as supporters cheered. “I was the one that picked Milwaukee,” Trump claimed. “I was the one that had these nice people that, they say, ‘Oh he doesn’t like Milwaukee.’ I love Milwaukee. I said you’ve got to fix the crime. We all know that you’ve got to make sure the election’s honest. But I’m the one that picked Milwaukee.”

While Milwaukee city and civic leaders conducted an aggressive campaign to make the city the GOP convention site, its selection was all but assured after the city of Nashville withdrew from the competition.

Trump had planned to spend his nights during the convention at the Trump hotel in Chicago, according to the New York Times, citing three people who had been briefed on Trump’s logistics. “That changed midafternoon on Tuesday, after reporters for The New York Times and an ABC station in Chicago contacted his campaign for comment,” the Times reported.

The Racine visit marked the first time Trump addressed the Milwaukee “horrible city” claim in Wisconsin — just one of three firsts for the former president.

It was also Trump’s first visit to Racine County since 2018, when he joined then-Gov. Scott Walker at a groundbreaking for the Foxconn development that Trump promised would be the “eighth wonder of the world.” Despite a deal giving the company $700 million in local taxpayer funds and a prospective $3 billion in tax credits, Foxconn never achieved its promise to employ 13,000 people. Trump made no mention of Foxconn Tuesday.

That fulfilled a prediction that Kelly Gallaher, chair of the Racine County Democrats and a long-time critic of the Foxconn project made earlier in the day.

“I would not be surprised if he doesn’t actually mention it at all,” Gallaher said after a press conference Democrats held to deliver a counter message to Trump’s visit. “It’s the whopper of failed projects.”

Trump in Racine dwells on immigration, claims economy is a wreck (1)

The Democratic Party bought time on an electronic billboard visible to southbound drivers through Racine County on Interstate 94. Alternating messages played on Trump’s “horrible” comment and contrasted the loss of jobs in Wisconsin when Trump was in office against job growth under Biden.

Rep. Greta Neubauer (D-Racine), said that Microsoft’s investment in the Foxconn site, putting a $3.3 billion data center on some of the land originally developed as part of the Foxconn project, “would not have happened without Joe Biden and his work on the CHIPS Act” — a 2022 bill to boost domestic manufacturing of semiconductors and other high tech components.

The Biden administration has also directed federal support for community health, electric buses and violence prevention to the community, Neubauer said.

“Racine is a working class and middle class community, and we need President Joe Biden who will look out for us rather than Donald Trump, who is only running for president to enrich himself and his friends and the wealthiest people in this country,” she said. “I’ve been out knocking on doors and talking to people in Racine County and I think that they understand that President Biden is fighting for them.”

Criminal indictments ‘a badge of honor’

Tuesday was also Trump’s first visit to Wisconsin since he was convicted of 34 felony counts by a New York City jury for falsifying business records to disguise hush money payments to p*rn star Stormy Daniels to influence the 2016 presidential election outcome.

Trump blamed his conviction — on charges of violating New York law and brought by a New York prosecutor — on a “weaponized” U.S. Justice Department that had no role in the case. Returning to the subject later, he boasted about the number of criminal cases still pending against him.

“Every time the radical left Democrats, Marxists, communists and fascists indict me, I consider it a great badge of honor,” Trump said. “Remember, I got indicted more than Alphonse Capone.”

After riffing on the 1930s Chicago mobster’s reputation for brutality, Trump said, “Never forget our enemies want to take away my freedom because I will never ever let them take away your freedom. That’s why they want to silence me because I will never let them silence you.”

Immigration took up more than half of the speech, however, with Trump asserting that “this is an invasion of our country.”

He attacked the executive order that Biden announced earlier Tuesday, which provides protections from deportation for long-term undocumented immigrants married to U.S. citizens as well as faster work permit approvals for people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Trump claimed the Biden administration policies were a ploy to flood the voter rolls with noncitizens — a claim that in January PolitiFact assigned its most extreme rating for falsehood, “Pants on Fire!”

“Inflation has killed our economy,” Trump said, asserting that inflation “was 10 for the last couple of years.”

“And if you add different categories, I think inflation is between 40 and 50%,” he said. “They say it’s at 22%, 22% — a lot,” he said, although who “they” are wasn’t clear in context. “That’s a record, but I think you could double it.”

According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, inflation spiked to just under 9% in June 2022 and has been falling since then, reaching 3% in February.

When he was president, “we had gasoline down to $1.87 a gallon,” Trump said.

According to the federal Energy Information Agency gas prices in late April 2020 dropped below $1.80 a gallon.That was also when the U.S. registered a record low in monthly vehicle travel, coinciding with the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic during which much of the population stayed home.

Trump also gave shoutouts to former Govs. Tommy Thompson, who gave a fiery introduction, and Scott Walker, as well as Republican U.S. Reps. Glenn Grothman, Derrick Van Orden and Bryan Steil. He attacked Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who is running for a third term, and gave Eric Hovde, the likely Republican nominee to challenge her, a three-minute time slot.

“All of you and you are gonna fire Joe Biden and Tammy Baldwin,” Hovde told the crowd. “Let’s take back America. Make America Great. And restore the American Dream.”

The post Trump in Racine dwells on immigration, claims economy is a wreck appeared first on Wisconsin Examiner.

Trump in Racine dwells on immigration, claims economy is a wreck (2024)

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