President Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail on Wednesday, telling a packed crowd at a rally in Duluth, Minnesota, that he had won the first presidential debate against his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
“The verdict is in and they say that we, we, all of us, won big last night,” Trump told the crowd.
It was uncertain at the time what metric Trump was referring to. However, a poll by CSPAN on Twitter that had more than 325,500 votes saw 69 percent in favor of Trump, and 18.7 percent in favor of Biden.
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 30, 2020
On Thursday, Trump said on Twitter that he had won the debate based on a “compilation of polls.”
I won the debate big, based on compilation of polls etc. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2020
Trump lost Minnesota to Hillary Clinton in 2016 by about 1.5 percent, or less than 45,000 votes. The Trump campaign is hopeful that he can flip the state in the upcoming election.
The president told supporters late Wednesday of the first presidential debate: “Last night, I did what the corrupt media has refused to do. I held Joe Biden accountable for his 47 years of lies, 47 years of betrayal, and 47 years of failure … These are the same media outlets cheering violent demonstrations in the streets: CNN, The New York Times.”
“I’m not just running against Joe Biden,” Trump added. “I’m running against the corrupt far-left media, socialists, and communists, and the Democrat Party, and the special interests who’ve made a living bleeding our country dry.”
During the rally, Trump touted his campaign endorsement from various law enforcement organizations. The Republican president joked about how he had asked Biden at the debate to “name one group in the entire nation” that endorsed the Democrat but Biden was unable to.
“I’ve got Minnesota now, I’ve got everybody,” Trump said as he recounted how he had asked Biden, “Name one group in the entire nation from law enforcement that’s supporting you.” Trump then said that debate moderator, Fox News’s Chris Wallace, intervened and moved to another question.
At the rally, Trump denounced Antifa—a far-left anarcho-communist group that has been involved in rioting across the United States in recent months—and pointed out how Biden called Antifa “just an idea.”
“Ideas don’t assault cops and they don’t burn down buildings,” Trump said. “Antifa is a domestic terrorist organization.”
The president continued criticizing his opponent, pointing out how Biden refused to say whether he would pack the Supreme Court, and how Biden did not respond when asked to explain why Biden’s son Hunter was paid $3.5 million by the wife of the former mayor of Moscow.
Trump told the crowd that Biden “even vowed to eliminate our tax cuts.”
“That means he’ll take away your child tax credits, because I gave you child tax credits, $1,000 a child. He wants to take away what I gave you and revoke our historic tax relief, right to the middle class it went,” Trump said.
Biden said Wednesday at a campaign speech in New Alexandria, Pennsylvania, “We’re going to get rid of the … tax cut that Trump passed.”
Minnesota Iron Range
Trump late Wednesday voiced his support for Minnesota Iron Range, the main iron ore mining district in the United States, which he called a “critical issue.” The Obama administration had blocked two copper-mining leases in Minnesota, which Trump later reversed, and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management renewed the leases in May 2019.
“Obama closed the Iron Range and I opened it … Joe will reinstitute that ban in 2 minutes if we lose. So you better vote for me in Minnesota,” Trump said, later warning, “If Joe gets in, the radical left will shut down the Iron Range forever. It’s going to be gone.”
The president also said that he “opened up permitting” for copper nickel mining. This likely refers to Twin Metals’s proposed underground copper nickel mining near near Ely, Minnesota, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Trump also said that he “strongly” supports replacing the decaying Line 3 Enbridge oil pipeline.
“We’re going to replace it. It’s all done. It’s all done. All of this is why nine Democrat mayors of cities in the Iron Range have endorsed me over sleepy Joe Biden,” Trump told the crowd.
Ahead of Trump’s rally, Biden announced a plan (pdf) for the Iron Range to “fight for workers, create jobs, and support families.” He also announced a list of endorsements from 45 leaders in northern Minnesota.
At Trump’s rally late Wednesday, the president noted that he had just signed an executive order to increase domestic production of critical minerals and support U.S. mining jobs in efforts to reduce the nation’s reliance on China for the minerals.
Trump said the executive order will provide “billions of dollars to jumpstart production of critical and other minerals, which will create countless jobs that are so important for our country.”
“I will always protect the state of Minnesota. I will do that. It’s been very good to me. We almost won it. We almost won it,” Trump said.
The president encouraged Minnesotans to go and vote, after early voting opened Sept. 18.
In concluding remarks at the rally, he told supporters: “Over the next 4 years, we will make America into the manufacturing superpower of the world. And we will end our reliance on China once and for all.”
Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.