< Back to 68k.news US front page

Immigration and 2020 false claims: Takeaways from Donald Trump's Wisconsin rally

Original source (on modern site) | Article images: [1] [2]

GREEN BAY - Wisconsin first delivered the presidency to Donald Trump eight years ago and on Tuesday the former Republican president returned to the critical battleground state to pitch himself as a solution for the U.S. southern border while continuing to promote false claims about Wisconsin's elections.

Trump arrived in Green Bay during a classic upper Midwest spring snowstorm for his first Wisconsin stop of the 2024 presidential election cycle. There, he argued he would level more strength at the border to a crowd gathered in a downtown convention center that was the site of his first rally in Green Bay in 2016.

"This is the worst president in the history of our country," Trump said of rival Joe Biden. "Joe Biden is not respected. Joe Biden is not feared."

Here are takeaways from Trump's visit to Green Bay:

Trump again promotes lies about Wisconsin's 2020 election

Trump opened his speech by again falsely claiming he defeated Biden in 2020, saying he "won this state by a lot" that year.

Biden won Wisconsin by about 21,000 votes in 2020, a defeat that was key to Trump's reelection loss that year.

"Look, we won in 2016. We did much better in 2020. I hate to say it. We did a hell of a lot better. But there's more spirit now than at any time than we've ever seen," Trump said. He said he would not let Democrats "rig" the 2024 presidential election.

More:Gilbert: For Donald Trump, Wisconsin in 2024 looks a lot like Wisconsin in 2016

The election rocked the nation when Trump refused to accept the results while spreading false claims about the accuracy of elections in Wisconsin and in other battleground states. The effects of Trump's falsehoods about the 2020 election have been lasting, with just 19% of Republican voters reporting feeling "very confident" in the election result, according to a January survey of registered voters by the Marquette University Law School poll.

Trump on Tuesday also mentioned ballot "dumps" during the 2020 election, a misleading reference to a Milwaukee practice of reporting the results of all absentee ballots in a single update that often takes place later at night because election workers wait until the counting is complete to report results.

Trump has falsely claimed this practice amounts to fraud.

Trump blasts Biden on immigration issues

In his swing through the upper Midwest, Trump tore into Biden over his administration's handling of immigration issues inundating the southern U.S. border with Mexico, dubbing his case against the president "Biden's bloodbath." The reference was a nod to heavy criticism Trump received last month for warning voters of a "bloodbath" for the American auto industry if Biden was reelected.

Trump leads Biden on Wisconsin voters' opinions about which candidate would do a better job handling immigration, according to the January Marquette University Law School survey.

Trump focused on immigration issues during his speech, claiming the U.S. "is becoming a third-world country."

"We're going to end up with the largest deportation in America," Trump said about his plans if reelected. "I'm here to declare Biden's border bloodbath ... ends the day I take office. I will end the carnage."

More:Bice: Wisconsin Democrats are burying Republicans in 2024 fundraising

Trump pledges to protect Social Security benefits

Trump pledged to keep Social Security intact if reelected while falsely claiming immigration crises would deplete its reserves.

"We never touched it. We let it be," Trump said of his administration. "Your Medicare and Social Security will be safe."

Trump blasts indictments

The former president is facing charges in four separate criminal cases based on allegations of election interference, handling of classified documents and paying a porn star to prevent her from disclosing a sexual encounter.

Trump accused Democrats of engaging in "election interference" through the charges.

"They want to take away my freedom because I won't let them take away your freedom," Trump said.

Trump endorses Eric Hovde in U.S. Senate race

Eric Hovde, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin, received Trump's endorsement during Tuesday's rally — which Hovde helped open. During his introduction, Hovde received heavy applause for his pledge to donate his salary to charities if elected.

"You have tremendous potential," Trump said to Hovde. "Everybody go out. Support him. And get him to win."

More:Wisconsin U.S. Senate race updates: Eric Hovde reaches endorsement threshold with $1M raised

State GOP chairman, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson promote early voting as Trump mixes message

Republican Party of Wisconsin chairman Brian Schimming and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson urged the crowd Tuesday to embrace early voting.

Johnson said if Republican voters did not utilize in-person absentee voting, the party may not do well in November.

"Either we have a red wave in November or America is doomed," he warned.

At the same time, Trump reiterated false claims about the accuracy of Wisconsin's 2020 election. Trump in 2020 blasted the use of absentee voting ahead of the election and following his loss, Trump sought to throw out all ballots cast in-person absentee in two counties, a practice known as early voting.

"It doesn't give me a lot of heartburn," Schimming told reporters ahead of Trump's speech.

Schimming said he spoke to Republican National Committee officials about promoting the benefits of voting in-person absentee, which Trump has previously characterized as fraudulent.

"So I think you will see a pretty consistent message there," he said.

Trump proposes death penalty in homicides of police officers, banning 'squatters rights'

If elected, Trump said he would ensure anyone convicted of killing police officers would receive the death penalty as a criminal penalty. He also proposed a task force with the goal of banning any legal protections of people who enter homes they don't own and seek to exercise "squatters rights."

"We will end the plunder, rape and destruction," Trump said.

Democrats promote Biden, blast Trump ahead of Green Bay visit

Ahead of Trump's visit, Democrats held news conferences in Madison and Milwaukee on Monday highlighting Biden's infrastructure efforts and his support for union workers, as well as his administration's advocacy for abortion access.

Kent Miller, president of the Wisconsin Laborers' District Council, called Biden "the most pro-union president and pro-worker president in our history." Biden visited the union's DeForest training center in February 2023, before he had officially announced his plans to seek reelection.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, who serves on a national advisory board for the Biden-Harris campaign, noted that Tuesday's rally in Green Bay will be Trump's first visit to Wisconsin since August 2022.

"Let's just think about how many things have happened in Wisconsin since 2022. We've had a lot going on, but apparently Donald Trump doesn't care because he hasn't been here," Rhodes-Conway said. "He's been at the country club, on a golf course and, yeah, in a few courtrooms, I think. And this belated visit doesn't really represent a break in his routine of throwing Wisconsin families under the bus."

Trump's visit follows a string of visits from Biden and his surrogates in recent weeks, including Vice President Kamala Harris, first lady Jill Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The Biden campaign officially launched canvassing efforts throughout the state last month, following a visit to Milwaukee by the president. Biden is expected to be in Madison on Monday.

Jessie Opoien of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel contributed to this report.

Molly Beck can be reached at molly.beck@jrn.com.

< Back to 68k.news US front page