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Trailing Biden in Polls, Trump Claims Michigan's "Economic Survival" Is On The Ballot

Abigail Censky

Trailing behind Former Vice President Joe Biden in statewide polls, President Donald Trump stood on stage at the Capital Region International Airport for more than an hour Tuesday a week ahead of the 2020 election.


“It’s freezing and it’s raining and I’m just trying to keep up with the tough people of Michigan, that’s all,” said Trump.  

The President won the state of Michigan by less than 11,000 votes in 2016 and he told the crowd of thousands Tuesday “Michigan is once again going to answer the call of history.”  

It was one of three rallies Tuesday and his second appearance in the state since being diagnosed with COVID-19.  

The through line of the rally: that the 2020 election is “a choice between a Trump boom or a Biden lockdown” was buoyed by false claims that Trump has repeatedly made at rallies in Michigan about the auto industry, being Michigan “Man of the Year”, and that the state remains locked down—all of which have been debunked.  

Trump cast Tuesday’s election as “a matter of economic survival for Michigan,” and played down the impact of COVID-19 saying it was a media obsession “And you know now with them, you can’t watch anything else, you turn it on: COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID,COVID, COVID, well we have a spike…”  

The seven-day rolling average of cases has been steadily increasing in Michigan.Hospitalizations have tripled in recent weeks, and more than 7,000 Michiganders have died because of COVID-19.  

The President also attacked his Democratic opponent Joe Biden, at one point pausing to watch a reel of clips criticizing Biden. He also attacked Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer for herefforts to control the coronavirus, calling her “a disaster.”  

Trump falsely insinuated the state was closed several times, imploring Whitmer to “get your kids back to school” and reopen the state. The stay-at-home order was lifted in June, and most school districts chose at their discretion whether or not to allow in-person, hybrid, or online schooling.  

After being heavily criticized for saying https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxKJ6JgD2qg" rel="noreferrer noopener" style="text-decoration: none; color: inherit;" target="_blank">“Lock ‘em all up” at a rally in Muskegon weeks earlier when the crowd began to chant “lock her up” days after the FBI foiled an alleged kidnapping plot against the Governor, the president avoided directly calling to imprison Whitmer but did not condemn the crowd, saying: 

“I don’t comment on that, because every time if I make just even a little bit of a nod, they say the president led them on. I don’t have to lead you on,” said Trump as the crowd chanted “lock her up.”  

Downballot Republicans also appeared including John James, who’s challenging Democratic Senator Gary Peters and Paul Junge who’s challenging Democratic Representative Elissa Slotkin.  

James urged Republicans to turn out. He said Republicans have no one to blame but themselves for not turning out in 2018, when he lost an earlier bid for U.S. Senate to Michigan’s senior Senator Debbie Stabenow. 

“The time is now. We have 7 days. We need to show up. Democrats are showing up. If you want to talk a big game, you’ve got to show up, and that’s what we’re here to do,” said James.

President Trump is set to return to Michigan on Friday. He’ll hold a rally in Oakland County at an airport in Waterford Township. Former President Barack Obama will join his former Vice President Joe Biden to campaign in the state on Saturday. 

Abigail Censky reported on Politics & Government at WKAR from 2018 to 2021. Now, she reports for The Colorado Springs Gazette and edits for The Catalyst Newspaper.
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