by Scott McClallen
Seven days before the 2020 election, President Donald Trump visited Lansing — the capital of a major battleground state and the home turf of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Hundreds of Michiganders lined up at the Capital Region International Airport starting about 8 a.m. Tuesday waiting in 32-degree weather and rain for seven hours until Trump started talking about 3 p.m.
In 2016, Trump won the state by a mere 10,704 votes.
Former First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won eight out of 83 counties: Genesee, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Muskegon, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne.
A Trump campaign official estimated a crowd of 10,000 in and outside the event.
Before Trump took the stage, Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James touted himself over incumbent opponent Sen. Gary Peters.
“In seven days, Michigan will choose a combat veteran instead of a career politician,” James told the crowd about his race with Peters, who’s also a veteran.
James said the U.S. was the only place where someone could go from slavery to a U.S senator in four generations, and where a son of a truck driver can become a U.S senator.
Whitmer and Trump have been sparring for months as the Michigan governor was one option to be Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s running mate, and Trump has taken issue with Whitmer’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, calling it a “lockdown.”
“Get your children back in school,” Trump said on Tuesday. ”Your governor’s a disaster. They’ve got to open up this state. And she’s got to keep her husband away from sailing and fishing,” a reference to Whitmer’s husband attempting to use his clout to get his boat on the water in North Michigan in May, when the state’s lockdown was at its strictest.
Michigan schools choose whether to host in-person school, virtual, or a hybrid model.
The state is largely open now, except for capacity restrictions.
Whitmer also partially blamed Trump for a kidnapping plot the feds foiled earlier this month, saying far-right groups took Trump’s words about the Proud Boys as a “call to action,” even though the plot dated back as far as June and the designating the group as far-right is suspect.
“It was our people who helped her,” Trump said of a federal and state coalition that stopped the alleged kidnapping plans.
Trump accused Biden of wanting to raise Michiganders taxes and energy prices by attempting to end fossil fuels and fracking.
“This election is the choice between a Trump super recovery or a Biden depression,” Trump said.
Trump said a safe vaccine will end the COVID-19 pandemic and create a booming economy in the next four years.
“We’ve built the best economy in the world… and the best is yet to come,” Trump said.
“Together, we will continue to protect American families, fight for American workers, support our police, and defend our Second Amendment.”
Real Clear Politics polling places Biden leading the Wolverine state with a nine-point spread.
– – –
Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “President Trump” by Brian Copeland CC BY 2.0.