Trump comes to Minneapolis | Minnesota Public Radio News

Trump comes to Minneapolis

President Trump has had a bumpy road to get here, but he's coming to Mpls for the first campaign event since the U.S. House started impeachment proceedings.

    Thousands of protesters expected in Minneapolis for Trump rally

    Briana Bierschbach | St. Paul

    When President Trump holds his Target Center rally Thursday night, it will draw thousands of his supporters and opponents to the heart of the most Democratic city in the state.

    It’s created logistical and cost concerns for Minneapolis officials, who are asking for help from state, local and federal law enforcement agencies and expecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra costs for security.

    “Whether you are attending the event in support or protesting in opposition, we will do everything possible to ensure your safety,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said this week. “Your safety is our responsibility, it is our top priority and we take that charge very seriously.”

    Trump held rallies in Duluth and Rochester, Minn., in the last campaign cycle, but his Minneapolis appearance is expected to draw much larger crowds, including thousands of protesters. 

    Minneapolis is in the 5th Congressional District, one of the most Democratic districts in the country. It elected DFL U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar last fall with 78 percent of the vote, and in 2016, only 18 percent of voters there backed Trump for president.

    Jackie Schwarz Craig, who works with the Women’s March Minnesota, said her first reaction to the rally was fear for Omar, whom Trump has targeted in his tweets.

    “He’s been targeting Ilhan with a lot of rhetoric and quite frankly a lot of hate. And she has been nothing but graceful,” she said. “I personally fear for her and her family. We shouldn't have to fear for the families of people representing our communities.”

    Giselda Gutierrez works with the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, which posted a “Dump Trump” protest event on Facebook that's attracted thousands of responses. She said she was shocked when she heard Trump was coming to Minneapolis.

    “It seems very intentional that he’s coming here. He’s going to hit on those messages of being anti-Muslim and anti-refugee, and that’s why we decided we needed to oppose that,” she said. “We’re not going to be sucked into that message of hating our fellow community members, people we live with.”

    More than a dozen groups are working together to coordinate the protests and they’re training hundreds of marshals to try to keep protesters safe during the event. The groups said they don’t want any violence.

    “All of the coalition have signed on to an agreement to make sure this rally is and this protest is peaceful for everyone. We want families to come out here, we want everyone to come out here because this is about us,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

    But the groups are worried about militant outside groups that could disrupt that. The self-proclaimed anti-fascist protest group Antifa has called for supporters to show up on Thursday, as has the group the Oath Keepers, an anti-government far-right organization whose members often show up to events armed. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the group's founder as a known extremist.

    Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder said police are keeping an eye on the actions of outside groups and are aware of a “myriad of different external factors” they could confront.

    But Trump has strong support outside of the Twin Cities, and thousands are expected to travel to Minneapolis Thursday to try to see him in the Target Center. The venue can hold 20,000 people, and Trump claimed on Twitter this week that more than 72,000 people had already requested tickets from his campaign.

    Trump came within 1.5 percentage points of beating Hillary Clinton in Minnesota, a state that hasn't picked a Republican for president since Richard Nixon's landslide win in 1972.

    And he's already pledging to win Minnesota in 2020. His campaign was using the rally to mobilize and train volunteers near a golf course in Anoka this week. Lisa Schneengans, a Trump supporter from Lakeville, plans to be an usher for supporters at the rally.

    She didn’t have trepidation about him holding the rally in Minneapolis.

    "I think it's really important for him to go into the inner city, because that's really where we have to win hearts and minds,” she said. “Once he's shown he's ready to take on the belly of the beast, I think it's going to be a huge thing for his campaign."

    FOX: Majority of voters want Trump impeached, out of office

    As President Trump prepares to take the stage in downtown Minneapolis it appears that more Americans support his removal from office. 

    Just over half of voters want President Trump impeached and removed from office, according to a Fox News Poll released Wednesday. A new high of 51 percent wants Trump impeached and removed from office, another 4 percent want him impeached but not removed, and 40 percent oppose impeachment altogether. In July, 42 percent favored impeachment and removal, while 5 percent said impeach but don’t remove him, and 45 percent opposed impeachment. (FOX)


  • Democrats worry Trump has a 2020 head start in Minnesota

    Mark Zdechlik |St. Paul

    As Republicans prepare to rally behind President Trump in Minneapolis, Democrats have plenty of candidates but no good sense of who will become their nominee to run against him next year.

    The nomination battle threatens Democrats’ chances going into the 2020 election, said Minnesota DFL Party Chair Ken Martin.

    “There’s no doubt, the longer this nominating contest goes on, the steeper the hill is for us in terms of beating Donald Trump,” he said.

    Martin said Republican fundraising and organizing efforts should be of particular concern in Minnesota, a state where the last time a Republican presidential candidate prevailed was 1972. Trump narrowly lost in the state in 2016 and is targeting it for victory next year.

    “Minnesota has the longest streak of any in the nation of voting for the Democratic presidential nominee,” Martin said. “I don’t want to be the party chair that loses Minnesota on their watch.”

    Despite the concern, there are efforts underway by opponents to counter Trump's campaign in the state.

    "We are very clear eyed that Donald Trump has set his eyes on Minnesota and on winning in 2020. We knew that very early on and so we have been preparing and building a statewide infrastructure to beat him again,” said Elianne Farhat, executive director of TakeAction Minnesota.

    The organization endorses what it considers progressive candidates and pushes causes from wage and marriage equality to broader access to affordable health care.

    Farhat said TakeAction Minnesota stands ready to help convert Democrats’ anger and frustration to political organizing and coalition building to meet Republican efforts in Minnesota.

    “When folks go out and when they protest Donald Trump, I think that’s a good response if that’s what they need to do. That cannot be all that we do. We are doubling down on our organizing. We are putting out messages that connect people across difference, across race, class gender zip code,” she said.

    Trump lost Minnesota by fewer than 45,000 votes in 2016, but not because he dramatically outperformed Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican candidate. The big difference was on the Democratic side. Hillary Clinton garnered nearly 180,000 fewer votes than Barack Obama did in 2012.

    Political consultant Matt Fuehrmeyer helped Democrats win control of the House in last year’s midterm elections as director of research and strategic communications for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Looking to 2020, he said Democrats cannot continue allowing Trump’s reelection campaign to outpace them.

    “You’re seeing a lot of money and organization sitting on the sidelines waiting for a nominee, which frankly, they can’t afford to do if we want to take back the White House.”

    Fuehrmeyer said he’s concerned Democrats nationally do not understand the threat Trump poses in Minnesota.

    And Fuehrmeyer said Trump’s efforts to win Minnesota could hurt down-ballot Democrats in the state from Sen. Tina Smith’s reelection campaign to Democrat’s effort to retain control of the state House and flip the Senate in their favor.

    "National Democrats and folks with the resources and the money to help the party win back the White House need to see Minnesota not as a state that Democrats are going to win but as a state that Democrats are going to have to fight for,” Fuehrmeyer said.

  • As Minneapolis awaits President Trump's rally at Target Center tonight, here is a timeline of key events surrounding his visit:
    - Vice President Mike Pence has an event in Lakeville at 3:00 this afternoon.
    - Protesters begin gathering at 5:30 near Target Center
    - Pres. Trump to begin speaking at 7:00. MPR News will stream his speech online. While we won't air the speech on the radio, we will have special coverage of All Things Considered with Tom Crann through 7:00. After that, in the 7:00 hour, our political team will anchor special coverage on the radio during Trump's speech.
  • Here is Kevin Lake of Sioux City, Iowa

  • MPR News reporter Elizabeth Dunbar is gathering videos from people planning to attend President Trump's rally at Target Center. We're hearing from supporters, opponents, and anyone in-between talking about why they came to downtown Minneapolis for the appearance. If you want to share your video with us, you can upload it here, or hit us up at @MPRnews or Instagram.


  • Here is another video from someone attending tonight's rally. Trish Venhuizen of Champlin explains why she came.

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