MOSINEE, Wisc.—During the 2016 elections, voters in the “Badger State” helped catapult President Donald Trump to the Oval Office. On Oct. 24, Trump sought to energize their support again with a campaign-style rally, with midterm elections just days away. He also called for civility during the rally.
The president spoke at the Endeavor Hangar at the Central Wisconsin Airport, to ramp up support for GOP Senate candidate Leah Vukmir and for Gov. Scott Walker, who is seeking reelection. Early voting has opened in Wisconsin.
Vukmir is vying to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin, which would help bolster the slim 51–49 Republican majority in the Senate. Recent polls show Baldwin leading Vukmir by about 10 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics.
Meanwhile, Walker trails by 3.6 percentage points against his Democratic opponent, Tony Evers.
Earlier in the day, a number of prominent Democrats were allegedly targeted with explosive packages sent via mail, including former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and John Brennan.
At the White House, Trump condemned the “attempted attacks” and said the “full weight of our government” will be deployed to investigate the crimes.
‘Keep America Safe’
At the start of his speech, Trump spoke directly about the attempted attacks, in a roughly five-minute soliloquy that was a break from his practice at other rallies, where he usually touts his economic wins.
“I want to begin tonight’s rally by addressing these suspicious devices that were mailed to current and former high-ranking government officials,” he told the crowd. “My highest duty, as you know, as president is to keep America safe.
“The federal government is conducting an aggressive investigation, and we will find those responsible and we will bring them to justice, hopefully very quickly.”
Trump said any acts of political violence or threats are an attack on “democracy itself.” He said no nation can succeed that tolerates such actions.
“Such conduct must be fiercely opposed and firmly prosecuted. We want all sides to come together in peace and harmony. We can do it. It will happen,” Trump said.
He then listed steps that could help bring the nation together again.
“For example, those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective. … No one should carelessly compare political opponents to historical villains, which is done often. We should not mob people in public spaces or destroy public property. There is one way to settle our disagreements: it’s called peacefully at the ballot box,” he said.
As part of the efforts at building unity, Trump said the media also has a responsibility to “set a civil tone” and to stop what he described as “the endless hostility, and constant negative, and oftentimes false attacks and stories.”
“There are dramatic differences between our two political parties that we know. It is essential for our democracy to draw a sharp contrast between the two different platforms. … We need more, not less debate about policies, issues in our country. But what we can’t do is let our disagreements about matters of policy tears us apart as a country.”
Nearing the end of the monologue, Trump urged Americans to accept the results of the elections and to remember that Americans’ greatest achievements have been endeavors embarked on together.
Taxes and Health Care
Both GOP candidates want, among other issues, to lower taxes, repeal Obamacare, build the wall, and to have health care that includes those with pre-existing conditions. Trump touted, for his supporters, the governor’s role in the opening of Foxconn’s $10-billion factory.
“Few people could have done it. I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said, referring to Walker.
The plant is expected to initially employ 3,000 workers and eventually expand to employ as many as 13,000. Moreover, the plant is expected to attract additional businesses to the area, creating up to 22,000 more jobs.
“My wife has diabetes… we will always cover people like my wife for those with preexisting conditions,” Walker told the crowd.
Trump said Vukmir’s opponent, Baldwin, wants a “socialist takeover” of healthcare and “open borders. She wants people to pour into our country.” He referred to Vukmir as a “tireless fighter,” before inviting her on stage.
“Everywhere I go in this great state … it is overwhelming, because I have put on 90,000 miles on my car, all 72 counties, you all welcomed me over and over again. We are going to send Tammy Baldwin back [to the private sector],” Vukmir told the crowd.
The Democrats are for higher taxes, more regulation, and more top-down government control, the president said. The Republicans are the opposite, he added.
Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) made a surprise appearance on stage before the president touched down on Air Force One. Ryan also condemned the suspicious packages sent to government officials, before touting Trump’s record on the economy and tax cuts.