Trump Rallies Supporters in Duluth

June 21, 2018 12:10 AM

President Donald Trump said one more speech might have meant carrying Minnesota in the 2016 election.

He offered that opinion to the large crowd gathered at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth where he had scheduled a rally Wednesday evening.

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"I am thrilled to be back in the great state of Minnesota," said Trump, who worked in a congratulations to the Minnesota-Duluth men's hockey team on their recent national title and plenty of plugs for Republican candidates in 2018.

"With truly some of the most incredible people on earth.

"I hate to bring this up, but we came this close to winning the state of Minnesota. And in two-and-a-half years, it's going to be really easy I think."

Hillary Clinton won Minnesota in 2016 by a margin of 46.4 percent to 44.9 percent over Trump.

Trump went on to touch on North Korea, job creation and immigration policy among other topics in his speech, which ran around 45 to 50 minutes.

"Is anything more fun than a Trump rally," he asked the crowd at one point.

He also took several shots at the media.

His speech was interrupted twice by protesters, who were escorted out without incident. The second of whom prompted a blast from Trump.

"Was that a man or a woman," Trump said. "Because he needs a haircut more than I do."

Trump also once again threatened to cut aid to countries for failing to do more to stop migrants from reaching the U.S. border, or making the issue part of the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

And he again railed against Clinton, his 2016 Democratic opponent, complaining about a Justice Department internal watchdog report that backed up the FBI's decision not to charge Clinton for her use of a private email server as secretary of state.

    
Trump asked the crowd at one point: "Have you been seeing this whole scam?"

He also mocked the idea that his opponents were always called “the elite.”

“The elite! Why are they elite?” Trump wondered. “I have a much better apartment than they do. I’m smarter than they are. I’m richer than they are. I became president and they didn’t.” 

Air Force One touched down around 4:50 p.m. Wednesday in advance of the rally, which started about 20 minutes later than expected.

Before the rally, Trump took part in a roundtable discussion at the Port of Duluth-Superior.

The White House had announced the event - billed as a discussion on "promoting and protecting American workers" - would also feature six representatives from the mining and steel industry, four local elected officials (including St. Louis County board of commissioners chair Keith Nelson and fellow commissioner Pete Stauber) and Republican U.S. Representatives Tom Emmer and Jason Lewis.

Stauber is the endorsed Republican candidate in the race for the 8th District Congressional seat now held by retiring Democrat Rick Nolan, though the White House had said the meeting would not include "politicking."

Stauber was also called to the stage by Trump to speak at Trump's rally.

Home of the Iron Range, Minnesota is a place where Trump’s tariffs on foreign steel could play well. While economists wince and farmers brace for blowback, the crowd cheered when tariffs were mentioned on Wednesday. 

A long line of people had been snaking its way out well into the hot skyway system approaching AMSOIL for much of the afternoon.

RELATED: President Signs Executive Order Ending Family Separation

"Seeing President Trump is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Joe Bergeron, one of those in line.

RELATED: Immigration Policy Looms Ahead of Trump's Duluth Visit

There was some commotion in line though.

KSTP's Ben Rodgers reported a large group of anti-Trump protesters came through the skyway. Trump supporters yelled "Get a job" and chanted "USA, USA."

Someone then tossed an energy drink.

Meanwhile, Minnesota Power reported crews were working to restore power to more than 5,000 customers in Duluth, mainly in the downtown and Central Hillside areas. A tweet from the company stated that included the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center, located next door to AMSOIL.

But the company followed up with a tweet around 3:30 p.m. that said power had been restored at the DECC.

Trump arrived in Duluth after bowing to pressure from anxious allies and signing an executive order Wednesday ending the process of separating children from families after they are detained crossing the U.S. border illegally.

RELATED: Looking Back at Memorable Minnesota Presidential Visits

It was a dramatic turnaround for Trump, who has been insisting, wrongly, that his administration had no choice but to separate families apprehended at the border because of federal law and a court decision.

On Wednesday night, though, Trump downplayed the crisis that has threatened to envelop the White House amid days of heart-wrenching images of children being pulled from their immigrant parents along the nation’s southern border. He made only a brief mention of his decision to sign an executive order.

“We’re going to keep families together and the border is going to be just as tough as it’s been,” Trump told the cheering crowd.

TV station WDIO reported DFL leaders gathered Wednesday at Leif Erikson Park to respond to Trump's arrival.

DFL-endorsed candidate for governor Erin Murphy spoke, along with DFL Party Chair Ken Martin and District 7 Rep. Liz Olson.

Opponents of the Trump Administration had also gathered at a rally held in Bayfront Park in response to Trump's visit Tuesday afternoon, WDIO reported.

"We want to make sure that people are aware that many in the community are involved and concerned about what's going on in the country today," said Mary Owen, a Duluth resident.

The Associated Press contributed to this story


 

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Frank Rajkowski

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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