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Trump stumps in Waukesha for Michels and Steen, and against Kleefisch and Vos

Tim Michels and Donald Trump
Screengrab from WisconsinEye
Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels speaks during Friday's rally, while former President Donald Trump listens.

Former President Donald Trump praised some Wisconsin Republican leaders, and criticized others, during a speech in Waukesha Friday night. The Trump visit came a few days before next Tuesday's primaries in Wisconsin.

Trump mainly focused on the GOP primary for governor, where construction company owner Tim Michels is thought to be in a tight race with former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.

Trump had already endorsed Michaels, but added to his praise for the business executive from Brownsville.

"He builds massive tunnels and infrastructure, bidding like on the Lincoln Tunnel in New York. He bores through earth. He bores through mountains. He's big stuff. He's one of the biggest employers in the state," Trump said.

Michels says he has 8,000 employees.

image - 2022-08-06T072345.387.png
Screengrab from WisconsinEye
Tim Michels spoke to the crowd, before Donald Trump arrived in Waukesha.

It used to be rare for Republicans to criticize other Republicans. But that's what Trump did, when he then verbally attacked Michels' main rival Kleefisch.

"A career politician and a political insider. I've known her for a long time. She's the handpicked candidate of the failed establishment, the RINOS (Republicans In Name Only), the Washington swamp, and she's running a campaign of falsehoods and lies. Kleefisch complains about lobbyists. But her husband in one of the biggest in a place called Madison. You know Madison," Trump said.

Kleefisch's husband, former GOP state Rep. Joel Kleefisch, is listed as having about ten clients, which would not make him one of the biggest lobbyists.

Pence Kleefisch.jpg
Eddie Morales
Former Vice President Mike Pence sat between GOP governor candidate Rebecca Kleefisch (left) and former governor Scott Walker during a law enforcement round table discussion in Pewaukee on Wednesday.

Earlier this week in Pewaukee, Trump's former Vice President Mike Pence endorsed Rebecca Kleefisch. Among other things, Pence praised her efforts to support law enforcement.

Last night, Trump didn't stop at the primary for governor. He also blasted Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who's facing a primary challenge from Adam Steen in a GOP legislative contest in Racine County.

Trump remains upset that Vos has not done more to try to decertify the results of the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin, won by Democrat Joe Biden by about 21,000 votes.

"Despite undeniable evidence of rigging and fraud, Speaker Vos has taken no steps to hold the Wisconsin Elections Commission accountable, clean up the voter rolls or right any of the other wrongs," he claimed.

Trump went on the praise an election fraud investigation by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman — a highly criticized probe that Vos authorized. Gableman, who has previously acknowledged he's a Trump supporter, attended Trump's speech.

Vos told WUWM this week that Trump's endorsement of Steen wasn't surprising, and that Vos is proud of his efforts during the previous decade to support then-Gov. Scott Walker.

Trump did not allow Steen to speak during the former president's time on the stage. But Michels was asked to make remarks.

And Michels did so, sounding very excited. "The greatest thing we can do is vote on Tuesday, and that is the path to getting rid of Tony Evers, and getting proper leadership in the governor's office in Madison!" he shouted.

The reelection campaign of incumbent Gov. Tony Evers said Friday that Michels has embraced Trump's election lies. Democrats also held at least three news conferences to discuss the Trump visit.

Chuck Quirmbach
State Rep. Greta Neubauer (D-Racine) speaks at a news conference at the office of the Waukesha County Democratic Party

In Waukesha, state Assembly Minority Leader Greta Neubauer, of Racine, said the Trump ticket lost Wisconsin in 2020. "Both Trump and Pence were rejected by Wisconsin voters, for their extreme, divisive politics, and Wisconsin voters will reject their chosen candidate this fall," she said.

Republicans, and Democrats, up and down their respective tickets, are expected to do a lot more campaigning this weekend, into Monday, and possibly until the polls close Tuesday evening.

Audio of Trump and Michels came from a webcast of the rally.

Chuck Quirmbach joined WUWM in August 2018. He focuses his longform stories on health, innovation, science, technology, transportation, utilities and business.
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