Trump Heats Up Culture War in Wisconsin09/18 06:13
President Donald Trump stepped up his rhetoric on cultural issues, aiming to
boost enthusiasm among rural Wisconsin voters as he tries to repeat his path to
victory four years ago.
MOSINEE, Wis. (AP) -- President Donald Trump stepped up his rhetoric on
cultural issues, aiming to boost enthusiasm among rural Wisconsin voters as he
tries to repeat his path to victory four years ago.
Making his fifth visit to the pivotal battleground state this year, Trump
views success in the state's less-populated counties as critical to another
term. He held a rally Thursday evening in Mosinee, in central Wisconsin, an
area of the state that shifted dramatically toward Republicans in 2016,
enabling Trump to overcome even greater deficits in urban and suburban parts of
Trump has increasingly used his public appearances to elevate cultural
issues important to his generally whiter and older base, as he hinges his
campaign on turning out his core supporters rather than focusing on winning
over a narrow slice of undecided voters. In Mosinee, he called for a statute to
ban burning the American flag in protest --- a freedom protected by the Supreme
Court --- and criticized sports players and leagues for allowing demonstrations
against racial inequality.
"We have enough politics, right," he said, joking that sometimes, "I can't
watch me." He added of protests in sports, "People don't want to see it and the
ratings are down."
Earlier Thursday, in a speech at the National Archives to commemorate
Constitution Day, he derided The New York Times' "1619 Project," which aimed to
recognize the often overlooked consequences of slavery and the contributions of
"For many years now, the radicals have mistaken Americans' silence for
weakness. But they are wrong," Trump said. "There is no more powerful force
than a parent's love for their children --- and patriotic moms and dads are
going to demand that their children are no longer fed hateful lies about this
Trump told supporters in Wisconsin: "We're launching a new pro-American
lesson plan for students called 1776 Commission. We're going to teach our
children the truth about America."
Trump's last visit to Wisconsin came on Sept. 1, when he met with law
enforcement and toured damage from protests in Kenosha that turned violent
after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man hit seven times in the
back during an attempted arrest. Trump has sought to use the unrest after the
August shooting of Blake and the May police killing of George Floyd in
Minneapolis to tout a "law and order" message and paint an apocalyptic vision
of violence if Democrat Joe Biden wins on Nov. 3.
"I saved the suburbs," Trump said Thursday of his call for federal law
enforcement and national guard troops to confront protesters. He added that
police "did a great job in Kenosha."
Trump also previewed aid to the region's farmers, saying $13 billion would
begin flowing "starting next week" to help farmers. He provided no details.
Trump took another victory lap two days after he presided over Bahrain and
the United Arab Emirates recognizing Israel in a White House ceremony.
"I got nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize. That's a big deal," Trump
said, adding, "I should've gotten nominated seven times." His supporters
chanted "Nobel Peace Prize" in response.
Trump won Marathon County, which includes Mosinee, by more than 12,000 votes
in 2016 --- over three times more than the margin by which 2012 GOP nominee
Mitt Romney won the area. Trump's team is wagering the 2020 contest on a
similar performance in the county and the dozens of others like it across
Trump's path to 270 Electoral College votes may well hinge on Wisconsin, and
his campaign is investing tens of millions of dollars on advertising and
get-out-the-vote efforts in the state.
Trump's event took place largely outside an aircraft hangar at the Mosinee
airport, his campaign's preferred format for mass rallies during the
coronavirus pandemic, though Trump has been willing to host large events
indoors as well, sometimes in violation of state and federal distancing
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin was set to join Trump on Air Force
One but ended up under quarantine Thursday after learning he was exposed to
someone earlier in the week who subsequently tested positive for the virus.
Johnson tested negative on Wednesday night, his office said.