President Donald Trump contends a "great red wave" of Republican voters will help him carry Wisconsin in the Nov. 3 election. Trump spoke Tuesday evening at a rally in West Salem, near La Crosse.
Public opinion polls show Trump trailing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in Wisconsin by between 5 and 9 percentage points. But Trump says he has help on the way — if his supporters get out and vote.
"Gotta get out, this is the thing. Just remember, the great red wave,” he told the crowd.
Trump says he's behind in the polls because some of his backers don't talk to pollsters.
"Got a lot of hidden votes out there. I don't know if I'm supposed to be complimented by that or not, but they're hidden. They don't want to talk. See, they are all action, right, they call that all action," he said.
Trump's plan to activate what he says are his silent supporters continues to be to attack critics of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and to downplay the severity of the coronavirus. He told a few thousand people at the La Crosse Speedway that next week's election offers a clear choice on the future of the U.S. economy.
"It's a choice between a Trump boom and a Biden lockdown. Let's lock it all down, and by the way, speaking of lockdowns, let's get your governor to open it up,” Trump said, to cheers.
Wisconsin's Democratic Gov. Tony Evers announced Tuesday that 64 more people in the state have died of COVID-19, a one day high. The state also announced a new one-day record in confirmed cases of the virus, with more than 5,200.
The president also commented on another development this week, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that said absentee ballots have to be returned to Wisconsin polling places by Election Day and not by up to six days later.
"We had a great ruling. Right here. We had a great ruling, right? Supreme Court said ‘Nope, that's your date. It's called Nov. 3.’ That's your date, right?" Trump said.
During the rest of Trump's hour-long speech, he repeated this year’s campaign themes — that the 2019 federal tax cut was good for the nation, that he will protect gun ownership, oppose abortions, and that former Vice President Biden isn't mentally healthy enough to be elected.
The Biden campaign responded on a conference call with Wisconsin reporters that included former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona. Flake says he's still a conservative. But he explained his recent endorsement of Biden by saying the Democrat wants to preserve the institutions of democracy.
"There is nothing more conservative than wanting to preserve those institutions — like freedom of the press, like separation of powers, like the independence of the judiciary," Flake said.
And La Crosse-area U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, a Democrat, told the media that politics has gotten too mean-spirited and vicious.
"It's one of the reasons I'm a big supporter of Joe Biden. Joe Biden doesn't see a red America or a blue America. He sees a red, white and blue America, and the need for us to come together, now more than ever, as we're dealing with a global pandemic that's taking too many lives in our community,” Kind said.
But President Trump appeared to send many of his rally-goers home happy, including Steve Long.
"Look what he's done with China as far as tariffs and bringing jobs back to the states, and he's just doing a great job,” Long told WUWM.
The GOP's late push to carry Wisconsin again continues Wednesday afternoon, when Vice President Mike Pence campaigns in Mosinee.
Biden is expected to visit Wisconsin on Friday.