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Trump Touts Accomplishments At Wisconsin Rally, Critics Speak Out On His 'Failed' COVID-19 Response

Scott Olson
Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at Central Wisconsin Airport on Thursday in Mosinee, Wis.

President Donald Trump was in Wisconsin again Thursday, this time in Mosinee, just north of Stevens Point. It was the first stop on his weekend campaign schedule, which will take him to Minnesota and North Carolina. His visit comes on the heels of Vice President Mike Pence’s stop in Janesville earlier this week.

Wisconsin is a key battleground state in the upcoming presidential election. Democratic running mates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris made separate visits earlier this month – both met with Jacob Blake’s family as well. Blake is the Black man who Kenosha police shot in the back in August. He is now paralyzed.

President Trump arrived at an open-air airplane hangar in Mosinee to a crowd of his supporters chanting "USA" and "four more years."

"Thank you very much," Trump says over cheers. "And a very big hello Wisconsin. We’ve been very good together. And I’m thrilled to be with thousands of loyal, hardworking American patriots. Forty-seven days from now we’re going to win Wisconsin and we’re going to win four more years in the White House."

Very early into his speech, the Republican candidate attempted to distinguish himself from his Democratic presidential opponent. For example, Trump alluded to recent unrest across the country following police shootings of Black and brown people, saying Biden’s presidency would be a free for all.

Trump says Biden wants to surrender our country to the violent left-wing mob.

"If Biden wins, the rioters, anarchists, arsonists and flag burners, they win. And we’re not into flag burners," Trump says.

Trump says he’d like to see a law where flag burners get jail time. He referenced his "law and order" point of view. Saying, “everybody wants law and order” and “everybody has to have it.”

Trump says he’s running for this “important reelection” to bring jobs and factories back. And that it’s a continuation because, he says, the last three years have been great for Wisconsin economically. And he says next year will be even better despite COVID-19.

He says during his presidency, he’s fixed trade deals, secured borders and reduced poverty for millions. And built the strongest economy in the history of the world. That is, he says, until the virus hit.

"We closed it down, we saved millions and millions of lives; would be at 2.5 million, 2 million, 3 million — number that would not be sustainable, would not be acceptable. A horrible number there shouldn’t have been one person that died," Trump says.

Trump says a vaccine could be coming before the end of the year. But some of Trump’s critics are not satisfied with his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a press call ahead of his visit, Tricia Zunkercandidate for Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District, said she did not want him in central Wisconsin, especially since Marathon County, had a spike in cases this week.   

"I think he needs to be in Washington and addressing this pandemic. We don’t have enough PPE. We don’t have enough testing to get this under control," Zunker says. "We don’t have hazard pay for our frontline workers. There is so much that needs to be done"

And in Milwaukee, local officials, activists and community members gathered near the Wisconsin GOP field office on King Drive, to mark the United States COVID-19 deaths reaching 200,000.

People carried signs that read "Trump Lied, People Died."

Credit Susan Bence
On Thursday, officials and community members gathered near the Wisconsin GOP field office on King Drive to mark the United States' COVID-19 deaths reaching 200,000.

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley says, "What’s made the impact so bad is that Donald Trump has failed at leading our country through this crisis. His response to this pandemic will go down as the single most dangerous and consequential presidential failure that this country has seen in recent memory."

Kristina Meekins spoke about the devastation of the pandemic. She lost her aunt to the coronavirus.

"We got a call saying she was getting better and then the next day it was like, no, there was no coming back. So, it’s been really tough especially for my mom and for me and my aunt, who she did live with. And it’s something serious," Meekins says. "A lot of people are still hanging out without their masks and without taking the proper precautions and I just everybody to know that it is  really serious, and people are really dying."

The state health department reports that more than 1,200 people have died from COVID-19 in Wisconsin. 

Editor's note: WUWM's Susan Bence contributed to this story.

Teran is WUWM's race & ethnicity reporter.
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