Vice President Mike Pence made a campaign stop in Janesville, Wis., on Monday. It was the second time this month that he’d visited the state, with President Trump expected in Marathon County on Friday.
As the crowd chanted four more years, Pence told supporters in a hotel ballroom that Wisconsin is a must win.
“And the road to victory runs right through Wisconsin,” Pence says.
Pence touted what the Trump administration views as successes when it comes to doing away with NAFTA, putting the U.S. on more equal footing with China and improving the economy — at least up until COVID-19 hit.
“We created the greatest economy in the world. At the end of those first three years there were more Americans working than ever before. Bottom line, in three short years we made America great again,” Pence says.
When it comes to the coronavirus, Pence also says that the U.S., will have a vaccine by the end of the year. Hand sanitizer was handed out at the event and while some supporters wore masks, many did not.
Pence delivered a message of law and order, a common refrain from the campaign during times of protests across the country over police brutality. He says that while the Trump administration backs the blue line, it also has expanded opportunities for people of color.
“President Trump and I know what the people of Wisconsin know: You don’t need to choose between supporting law enforcement and standing with our African American neighbors or any of the minorities that live in our cities to improve the quality of their lives, their education, their jobs, their security,” Pence says.
Pence says it was the federal government sending agents to Kenosha in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake that ended the “rioting and looting.”
Jimmy Tillman drove from Chicago to receive Pence’s message. He’s president of an organization called the Martin Luther King Republicans.
He says he understands that some Black people believe the president stokes fears and racial divides, but not him.
“No matter who is in charge of this country, we’re going to be dealt with in a certain way by the leaders no matter who they are. We just have to hope that whoever is in the White House treats his slaves properly. We as Black men, we came over to this country the property of these people. We’ve been fighting for our freedom to free ourselves from these people. Racism, segregation, separation, there’s nothing new upon us,” Tillman says.
Still, Tillman says that Trump has helped people in his community more than any other recent president. He points to Trumps support of historically Black colleges and universities, and the president’s executive order calling for the certification and credentialing of law enforcement agencies, and a database of excessive force incidents amongst other things.
Karen Arneson lives in Milton, not too far from the Pence event. She says she voted for Trump the first time around and plans to again.
"He doesn’t always speak like I like, but he speaks for me to keep me safe," she says.
Wisconsin is seen as a must-win state for both Democrats and Republicans in November.
Before departing, Pence called on the audience to pray for the country.