| Detroit Free Press
Trump campaigns at rain-soaked Michigan rally
President Donald Trump has started a busy day of campaigning with a cold, rain-soaked rally in Lansing, Michigan. (Oct. 27)
President Donald Trump outlined a dire and dangerous future for the United States if Joe Biden is elected president, relying on at times misleading and false information to attack his rival days before polls open across the country.
“There will be no school, no graduations, no weddings, no Thanksgiving, no Christmas, no Fourth of July. There will be no nothing, there will be no future. Other than that, it’s quite a good plan, I think,” Trump said, specifically addressing Biden’s plan to combat the spread of COVID-19.
“Biden doesn’t have a clue. The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.”
Biden has supported a national lockdown if recommended by scientists and health care experts, although claims he wants to lock down the country until a vaccine is ready are false.
Trump, who has recovered from COVID-19, continued to downplay the severity of the disease, mocking Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham for wearing a mask at the rally and saying incorrectly that the nation is “making a turn” in the fight against the virus.
Biden touts wearing masks and is generally supportive of health guidelines aimed at stopping the spread of the disease.
Trump’s comments came one day after Michigan health officials implemented new, more stringent guidelines for restaurants, bars and other venues in the state. The new orders are aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus that is on the rise in Michigan and many other places across the country.
“With 4 days until Election Day, working families in Michigan are hurting. More than 167,000 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19, cases are on the rise and hundreds of thousands of Michiganders are out of work,” Biden said in a statement provided by the campaign.
“And yet President Trump is only offering more lies and distractions — not a plan to get the virus under control or to create good-paying, middle-class jobs.”
During the roughly one-hour speech Trump promised to lower taxes and alleged Biden will raise taxes. Biden has pledged to not raises taxes for anyone who makes less than $400,000 a year.
“He will deliver poverty, misery, depression. I will deliver jobs, jobs, jobs,” Trump said, as thousands of people cheered while he spoke from the tarmac at Oakland County International Airport.
Perhaps Trump’s signature legislative achievement, the 2017 tax cut, did deliver an approximately $1,600 tax break for the average household. Tax benefits for the richest citizens of the U.S. were much greater though, according to independent analyses.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat and constant target of his ire, needs to “open up the state,” Trump said. Although the state continues to have capacity restrictions and mask mandates, businesses and schools have largely been allowed to operate in some capacity for months.
When Trump referenced the governor, the crowd chanted “Lock her up!” Trump responded “Not me!” before changing the subject.
As he has done before, the president touted his administration’s attention on automotive and manufacturing jobs. However, as of February and before the pandemic, the state had lost 2,400 auto jobs during the president’s term.
Although the country experienced unprecedented economic growth during the just-completed third quarter, those gains did not erase the massive downturn brought on by the pandemic.
Two new major assembly facilities have been announced since Trump took office in January 2017, a Jeep plant on Detroit’s east side and, last month, Ford said it would build a $700 million plant at the Rouge complex to make the all-electric F-150 truck. But that ignores a 40-day strike that rocked General Motors last year and the idling of Warren transmission.
Most polls show Biden leading Trump in the state by anywhere from 6 to 12 percentage points. The president’s visit to Michigan models a strategy he used late in the 2016 campaign, when he won the state by 10,704. Trump campaigned across Michigan in the days and hours before polls opened, including holding a late-night rally in Grand Rapids that did not end until the morning of Election Day.
This year, Trump is expected to return to Michigan three more times before Election Day. He’s scheduled to speak in Washington, a small township in Macomb County, on Sunday afternoon. Then he’ll visit Traverse City Monday morning before ending his 2020 presidential campaign events as he did last cycle: with a 10:30 p.m. rally in Grand Rapids.
Trump lost Oakland County in 2016 by more than 50,000 votes, and Democratic statewide candidates clobbered their Republican opponents in the county in 2018. But there are absolutely votes to be had for Trump in the Detroit suburbs — he won Macomb County by 11.5 percentage points after Barack Obama earned the county in 2008 and 2012.
Trump needs to at least remain competitive in the counties surrounding Detroit if he wants to win the state again this year.
On Saturday, Biden and Obama are scheduled to campaign in Flint and Detroit. The rallies are intended to increase voter turnout in the heavily Democratic cities, something Biden likely needs to win in Michigan.
The president continues to spread misinformation about mail-in and absentee voting, arguing on Twitter that the counting of ballots should end on Nov. 3. In Michigan and elsewhere, it’s very common for clerks to not have final vote tallies on Election Day. This year, the counting of the unprecedented number of absentee ballots may take until Friday, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has said.
Although Trump has suggested without evidence that mail-in voting may lead to a rigged election, his campaign and the Republican party have urged their supporters to avail themselves of the option.
More than 2.6 million absentee ballots have been returned to local clerks, according to Benson’s office. While she expects most votes to be cast via absentee ballot, more than 2 million people are expected to head to the polls on Tuesday.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Michigan residents can register to vote up to and through Election Day; there’s also still time to request and cast an absentee ballot. For more information, visit www.Michigan.gov/vote.
Contact Dave Boucher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-938-4591. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Boucher1.