Trump rallies Republicans in Rochester

Full coverage of President Trump's visit to Minnesota.

    Trump slams Democrats for 'rage-fueled resistance'

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — President Donald Trump accused Democrats of "rage-fueled resistance" in the battle over his Supreme Court nominee, seeking Thursday to use the blistering nomination process to motivate Republican voters in Minnesota.

    Speaking at a packed civic center in Rochester, Trump praised Judge Brett Kavanaugh, whose nomination has faltered amid accusations of sexual misconduct. Of Democrats, he said, "Their rage-fueled resistance is starting to backfire at a level nobody has ever seen before."

    Added Trump: "Do we love it? We love it. Because people see what's happening and they don't like it."

    As Republicans face a tough midterm election cycle, Trump is trying to boost turnout. The GOP is hoping to fend off a Democratic effort to recapture the House of Representatives.

    Trump landed in Minneapolis in the afternoon and headed to a fundraiser before traveling to Rochester, friendly territory in the traditionally liberal state, where Republicans are targeting two Democratic districts but playing defense in two GOP-held districts in the Minneapolis suburbs.

    Stressing the stakes, Trump said, "On Nov 6, I need your vote, I need your support to stop radical Democrats and elect proud Minnesota republicans."

    Outside Washington, the focus still remained on the dramatic nomination process for Trump's Supreme Court nominee. Trump told reporters he thinks Kavanaugh is "doing very well" as senators weigh a new FBI background report prompted by allegations of sexual misconduct.

    Trump earlier tweeted his support for Kavanaugh, who is accused of a sexual assault at a high school party, saying, "Due Process, Fairness and Common Sense are now on trial!" Trump has sought to use the Kavanaugh confirmation conflict to appeal to white men, arguing that the accusations are proof that innocent men could be unfairly targeted.

    The outcome in Minnesota could prove critical as Republicans seek to counter Democratic enthusiasm in the midterm elections.

    The president campaigned for Republican Jim Hagedorn, who is seeking an open congressional seat in the 1st Congressional District, a Republican-leaning area Democrats have controlled for 12 years. Hagedorn, who came close to unseating the outgoing congressman in 2016, has been an unabashed supporter of Trump and hopes the publicity from the rally will help put him over the top.

    Trump also appeared with Rep. Jason Lewis, who is facing a close re-election race in the Minneapolis suburbs. But Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen, who is also fighting to hold a suburban seat, did not attend, underscoring the president's mixed popularity in the state.

    "Just made my second stop in Minnesota for a MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN rally," Trump tweeted shortly after landing. "We need to elect @KarinHousley to the U.S. Senate, and we need the strong leadership of @TomEmmer, @Jason2CD, @JimHagedornMN and @PeteStauber in the U.S. House!"

    The president's sinking support in the suburbs has put both lawmakers in a tricky position against well-financed Democrats. But in a new memo, the White House argues that candidates who distance themselves from Trump will suffer this fall. Officials contrasted Lewis' request to campaign with Trump with Paulsen's efforts to keep his distance. The White House believes Paulsen's rejection of Trump will sink his candidacy.

    The White House memo acknowledges that Republicans are facing an enthusiasm gap, but suggests this is where Trump can make up the difference — for those candidates willing to take his help. Republicans who don't talk about Trump or his accomplishments, the White House warns, will make a tough situation a whole lot tougher.

    Trump has used campaign rallies in an effort to boost Republican turnout, encouraging the voters he drew to the polls in 2016 to support more staid traditional lawmakers. Both parties largely view the 2018 contest as a race to turn out party faithful rather than an effort to attract new voters. — Catherine Lucey and Jill Colvin, Associated Press.

    by Sara Porter, MPR News edited by Chris Graves, MPR News 10/5/2018 12:41:42 AM

    President Trump campaigns for Republican Jim Hagedorn, who is running against DFLer Dan Feehan for an open congressional seat in the 1st Congressional District, a Republican-leaning area Democrats have controlled for 12 years. Live updates: http://live.mprnews.org/Event/Crowds_pour_in_to_Rochester_for_Trump_rally

    Crowds pour in for Trump's Rochester rally: What you need to know

    Catharine Richert , Cody Nelson · Rochester, Minn. · Oct 4, 2018
    Trump rally in Rochester
    Hundreds of people lined up outside Mayo Civic Center in Rochester on Thursday for a chance to see President Donald Trump at an evening campaign rally. Mark Vancleave | Star Tribune via AP
     

    Thousands of people poured into downtown Rochester Thursday, hours ahead of President Trump's scheduled visit to Mayo Civic Center for a campaign rally.

     

    Most appeared to be supporters, eager to get a place in line for Trump's rally, which is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. MPR News will carry Trump's speech live on the air, on its website and on MPR News' Facebook page.

     

    Trump is in Rochester a month before the midterm elections and just hours after Senate Judiciary Committee members received the FBI's supplemental investigative report on Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

     

    Trump told reporters earlier he thought Kavanaugh was "doing very well" as senators weigh the report prompted by allegations of sexual misconduct three decades ago.


    Trump is stumping for Republican Jim Hagedorn, who hopes to win the race for Minnesota's 1st Congressional District, which includes Rochester. The president is also expected to back Rep. Jason Lewis, who is facing a close re-election in Minnesota's 2nd District.

     

    • Hagedorn vs. Feehan: Competitive 1st District race is backdrop to Trump visit

    • Poll: Trump's job approval drops to 39 percent in Minnesota

    • Related: Complete election coverage

     

    Harlan Kruger drove with his wife and two children from near Albert Lea, Minn., to hear Trump.

    "I would like to hear him talk about border control, I'd like to hear him put an end to the Kavanaugh issues, our veterans and I'm just excited to hear him proclaim his love for our country that he shows every day," Kruger said. 

    Among the president's supporters who arrived hours before the rally was Brandon Hawn, the vice chair of College Republicans at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
     
    "I've been a die-hard Trump supporter ever since he became the presumptive nominee back in the primaries and when he passed some tax cuts, he got Neil Gorsuch on the [Supreme] Court, my enthusiasm and support for Trump has been growing every day."

    Hawn said when he found out the president would be within an hour's drive of his school, he dropped everything to come.

    There were visible demonstrations from people protesting the president's visit on a week where he's caught public scorn for mocking Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing his Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault. 
     
    Joanne Kane from Rochester participated in a protest march, holding a sign that read: "Vote the bully out of the White House."
     
    "There are certainly a lot of women that are fearful of coming forward with their stories right now because they're afraid of being mocked or laughed at. I think there are a lot of people who are afraid of their families being separated. I think there's a lot of people feeling like what's going to happen in the future?" Kane said. "It just feels like we have a pretty chaotic White House and a pretty chaotic Senate right now."
     
    Officials: Safety a priority
     
    Rochester city officials encouraged residents and visitors to be aware of the influx of people to the city home to about 115,000 people. 
     
    "Safety of the president, local residents, businesses and visitors is our top priority," City Administrator Steve Rymer said in a press release.
     
    Whether you'll be in the Civic Center for the event or going about your normal day, here's what you need to know.
     
    The event
     
    Trump is scheduled to start speaking at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are required for admission but having a ticket doesn't guarantee entrance into the event. Once the main arena is full, other attendees will be invited to view the speech in an overflow area. There are restrictions on what is allowed into the space. The Secret Service will handle screening.
     
    Getting around
     
    Rochester Public Transit will be free from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on all routes. Those who typically drive downtown are strongly encouraged to use transit to get around road closures and reduce delays. Several routes will follow a detour all day.

    Road closures will begin at 8 a.m. and are expected to last the whole day.
     
    What's open, what's closed
     
    City Hall, the Government Center, Rochester Public Library and the City Hall parking lot will close to the public at 3 p.m. All programs at the library are canceled and the Friends of the Library Bookstore is closed all day.
     
    Parking
     
    There's a special park-and-ride in the west lot of Rochester Community and Technical College. There's a free shuttle service to and from the downtown area throughout the day. Most lots are expected to fill early and remain filled.
     
    Schools
     
    Rochester Public Schools said that parents should expect their kids home a little later than usual and to anticipate traffic congestion if they plan to pick up their children.
     
    Mayo Civic Center
     
    The center and the box office will be closed to the general public all day with press setting up early in the morning. Entrance into the building for the rally opens off Riverfront Plaza on the south side of the Civic Center. The west entrance of the building will be closed to the public.
     
    Flights
     
    Rochester International Airport's commercial flights are expected to experience delays between 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Private flights will not be allowed to operate at all between the same time due to temporary flight restrictions.
     
    Protest
     
    People in the community plan to hold a #Greaterthanfear rally and march before Trump is expected to speak. The march will begin in downtown Rochester around 1 p.m. at Soldiers Field and end around 3:30 p.m.
     

    • Poll: Love or hate, Trump looms large for Minnesotans in 2018 election

     
    MPR News reporter Matt Sepic and intern Precious Fondren contributed to this report, as did the Associated Press.
    by Michael Olson, MPR News edited by Paul Tosto, MPR News 10/4/2018 9:19:01 PM

    Trump campaigns in Minnesota as senators mull Kavanaugh fate

    President Donald Trump shakes hands with supporters after arriving on Air Force One at Minneapolis- Saint Paul International Airport for a fundraiser, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis, Minn. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
     
    Catherine Lucey and Jill Colvin, Associated Press

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — President Donald Trump aimed to boost Republican congressional candidates in Minnesota Thursday, as the GOP hopes to fend off a Democratic effort to recapture the House of Representatives.
     
    Trump landed in Minneapolis in the afternoon and headed to a fundraiser. He was set to appear later at an evening rally in Rochester, friendly territory in the traditionally liberal state, where Republicans are targeting two Democratic districts but playing defense in two GOP-held districts in the Minneapolis suburbs.
     
    Outside Washington, the focus still remained on the dramatic nomination process for Trump's Supreme Court nominee. Trump told reporters he thinks Brett Kavanaugh is "doing very well" as senators weigh a new FBI background report prompted by allegations of sexual misconduct.
     
    Trump earlier tweeted his support for Kavanaugh, who is accused of a sexual assault at a high school party, saying, "Due Process, Fairness and Common Sense are now on trial!" Trump has sought to use the Kavanaugh confirmation conflict to appeal to white men, arguing that the accusations are proof that innocent men could be unfairly targeted.
     
    The outcome in Minnesota could prove critical as Republicans seek to counter Democratic enthusiasm in the midterm elections.
    The president is campaigning for Republican Jim Hagedorn, who is seeking an open congressional seat in the 1st Congressional District, a Republican-leaning area Democrats have controlled for 12 years. Hagedorn, who came close to unseating the outgoing congressman in 2016, has been an unabashed supporter of Trump and hopes the publicity from the rally will help put him over the top.
     
    Trump also will appear with Rep. Jason Lewis, who is facing a close re-election race in the Minneapolis suburbs. But Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen, who is also fighting to hold a suburban seat, did not plan to attend, underscoring the president's mixed popularity in the state.
    The president's sinking support in the suburbs has put both lawmakers in a tricky position against well-financed Democrats. But in a new memo, the White House argues that candidates who distance themselves from Trump will suffer this fall. Officials contrasted Lewis' request to campaign with Trump with Paulsen's efforts to keep his distance. The White House believes Paulsen's rejection of Trump will sink his candidacy.
     
    The White House memo acknowledges that Republicans are facing an enthusiasm gap, but suggests this is where Trump can make up the difference — for those candidates willing to take his help. Republicans who don't talk about Trump or his accomplishments, the White House warns, will make a tough situation a whole lot tougher.
     
    Trump has used campaign rallies in an effort to boost Republican turnout, encouraging the voters he drew to the polls in 2016 to support more staid traditional lawmakers. Both parties largely view the 2018 contest as a race to turn out party faithful rather than an effort to attract new voters.

    Gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson on President Trump

     
    Among the candidates President Trump has thrown his support behind is gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson.

    Johnson said before the rally in Rochester that he's been impressed with the direction of the United States' economy under the president.
     
    "I can confidently say that if Hillary Clinton were president we would not have GDP growth over 4 percent and unemployment under 4 percent," Johnson said. "Those are two things that people were saying were going to be happening in the future and they are happening and it's because of what Donald Trump and the House and Senate have done in D.C."
     
    Hundreds of people marched through Rochester this afternoon in protest of the president's visit and policies.

    'Greater than fear' -- Protesters gather to oppose Trump

    A long line of protesters marches through downtown Rochester ahead of a rally by President Trump Oct. 4, 2018. (Brandt Williams | MPR News)
     
     
    Hundreds of people gathered in Rochester to protest President Trump who is in town for a rally Thursday evening. Thousands of Trump's supporters lined the downtown streets to get into the Mayo Civic Center. Trump is expected to spend some time speaking in support of several Republican candidates for state and federal office.

    Destiny Whitehorn of Rochester came out to the "Greater than Fear" rally that took place earlier in the day.
     
    "Spreading love and not hate, and spreading care and equality, justice, things like that. I think it's important to know that everyone's here with you and we stand together and not alone. So I just came out here because I think it's important to be involved and to show that you care."
     
    Joanne Kane from Rochester also participated in a protest march, holding a sign that said "Vote the bully out of the White House."
     
    "There are certainly a lot of women that are fearful of coming forward with their stories right now because they're afraid of being mocked or laughed at, I think there are a lot of people who are afraid of their families being separated, I think there's a lot of people feeling like what's going to happen in the future? It just feels like we have a pretty chaotic White House and a pretty chaotic Senate right now," Kane said.
     
    Trump was also expected to speak about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  His nomination is opposed by both of Minnesota's Democratic senators.

    President Trump campaigns for Republican Jim Hagedorn, who is running against DFLer Dan Feehan for an open congressional seat in the 1st Congressional District, a Republican-leaning area Democrats have controlled for 12 years. Live updates: http://live.mprnews.org/Event/Crowds_pour_in_to_Rochester_for_Trump_rally

    Trump supporters travel far for Rochester rally

    Stan Thom, of Big Lake, Minn., drove 120 miles Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, to see President Trump speak at 6:30 p.m. in Rochester, Minn. (Mark Vancleave /Star Tribune via AP)
     
     
    President Trump's Rochester rally is drawing protest as well as support from people around the region.

    Becky Hill traveled from Medford Minnesota to hear Trump speak. She says she's seen her health care costs skyrocket and that she does not want universal health care.
     
    "I don't want free health care, I don't want free health care at all," Hill said. "I want to pay for health care. I would like it — from the Obama days when his Obamacare was passed, I was paying $748 a month, over the past four years it's climbed to $2,144 a month that I pay."
     
    She'd like to see Trump address health care costs.
     
    Also among the president's supporters was Brandon Hawn, the vice chair of college Republicans at the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse.
     
    "I've been a die-hard Trump supporter ever since he became the presumptive nominee back in the primaries and when he passed some tax cuts, he got Neil Gorsuch on the court, my enthusiasm and support for Trump has been growing every day," Hawn said.
     
    Hawn says when he found out the president would be within an hour's drive of his school, he dropped everything to come.

    What question do you have about Election 2018? We'll answer your questions and take a look at President Trump's poll numbers ahead of his visit to Rochester. #AskMPRnews

    Trump adviser says GOP candidates should embrace president

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House has a message for vulnerable House Republicans tiptoeing around President Donald Trump: Get on board or start packing.

    The warning comes in a memo from White House political director Bill Stepien, who argues that GOP candidates who try to distance themselves from the president are only doing themselves harm in the upcoming midterm elections.

    The memo, dated Monday and obtained by The Associated Press, serves as a response to a grim White House briefing by pollsters for the Republican National Committee last month regarding GOP midterm prospects. It also previews some of Trump’s upcoming travel just as White House officials are eagerly noting the president’s efforts to help beleaguered House candidates, not just contenders in more prominent Senate races.

    Midterm elections are traditionally difficult for the parties of incumbent presidents, and this year is proving to be no exception. The GOP is facing down considerable Democratic enthusiasm as it looks to retain control of the House and Senate. But the White House memo argues that public perceptions about whether the country is on the right track temper the probability of a Democratic wave. So do redrawn congressional districts, which have reduced the number of contested seats.

    “With Americans supporting the direction of the country at historically high levels — but with Republican voters clearly lagging in enthusiasm — the path forward is clear; Republican candidates need to closely, clearly and boldly align themselves with the policies that have provided Americans with this historic level of directional optimism,” Stepien wrote.

    The White House memo suggests that countering the enthusiasm gap is where Trump can make up the difference — for those candidates willing to take his help. Republicans who don’t talk about Trump or his accomplishments, the White House warns, will make a tough situation a whole lot tougher.

    Trump has used campaign rallies in an effort to boost Republican turnout, encouraging the voters he drew to the polls in 2016 to support more staid traditional lawmakers. Both parties largely view the 2018 contest as a race to turn out party faithful rather than an effort to attract new voters. At a rally in Southaven, Mississippi, on Tuesday, Trump told voters: “Pretend I’m on the ballot.”

    He added: “This is also a referendum about me and the disgusting gridlock they’ll put this country through.”

    That message is consistent with the advice given last month to White House staff by GOP pollster Neil Newhouse, who said Republicans need to warn of the consequences if Democrats gain control of either chamber of Congress. He told White House officials that Trump could appeal to moderates and independents by emphasizing that a Democratic majority would be outside the mainstream on issues like abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement and pushing government-funded health care.

    Ever since, both themes have taken on more prominence in Trump’s rallies.

    Trump will campaign Thursday for Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn in the state’s 1st Congressional District Republican, alongside Rep. Jason Lewis of Minnesota of the 2nd district, who invited Trump to appear on his behalf.

    Officials contrasted Trump’s support for them with his attitude toward of Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen of the neighboring 3rd District who has kept his distance from Trump. The White House believes Paulsen’s rejection of Trump will sink his candidacy.

    The Stepien memo states that Trump’s travel strategy in the five weeks through Election Day will be to spend time with candidates like Lewis. On Saturday, he will campaign for Republican congressional candidate Steve Watkins in Kansas, kicking off a stretch of five rallies in eight days for candidates in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky.

    “Watch closely where the president has and will campaign; you will see the president aggressively campaigning in districts with candidates who enthusiastically embrace the policies that have put America on the pathway to prosperity,” the memo states. “President Trump continues to be ready, willing and able to put the power and force of his coalition to work for the candidates with whom he stands, and those who stand with him.”

    Officials acknowledge that Florida Rep. Carlos Curbello and Texas Rep. Will Hurd, among others, are keeping difficult races competitive while still keeping their distance from the president. But they cast those races as the exceptions to the embrace-Trump rule.

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