Trump one-on-one: President says denial of federal aid to state might be ‘punishment’ for Minneapolis

President Donald Trump made the first of what he says will be many visits to Minnesota and Wisconsin before Election Day in November.

The president started with a quick stop at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where he met with some small business owners about damage suffered during civil unrest in May and June. He then flew to Mankato for a small campaign rally just outside an airplane hangar.

After the Mankato rally, the president granted an exclusive interview to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on the tarmac alongside Air Force One. Among several topics, he said $15 million in emergency federal aid to help Minneapolis and St. Paul rebuild might have been rejected as punishment for letting riots get out of control.

Trump counters Biden with law and order message in Minnesota

“You know what, it’s a punishment for being stupid because they could have stopped that if they let the police do what they’re trained to do,” Trump told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

The president also responded to questions about his pandemic response, allegations he’s underfunding the Postal Service to undermine mail-in voting and why he’s focused on winning Minnesota and Wisconsin.

VIDEO: President Trump speaks one-on-one with KSTP

He plans to continue small rallies, or “airport hops,” like the one in Mankato as he continues his campaign during the pandemic.

The president says the rallies can be done safely.

“I think so, we’re pretty much socially distanced,” he said of the 200-300 at the rally. “They get a little excited, but frankly they’re socially distanced and they’re safe."

The KSTP crew was required to get tested for COVID-19 before getting close to President Trump.