NORTHFIELD, Minn. — Eric Trump portrayed the upcoming election as a choice to protect gun rights, free speech and religious freedom, while steering clear of discussing his father’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, during an in-person campaign event Tuesday evening, Oct. 13, at a farm in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District.

“It’s no longer Republicans versus Democrats,” the president’s son said. “It’s right versus wrong, that’s what we’re running against.”

His 30-minute speech moved swiftly through topics such as support for law enforcement, border security and taxes. He also took swipes at former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and politicians in general.

“Nobody here really likes politicians other than Donald Trump, do you?” he said — getting a cheer from the audience — before moving on to promote Second Congressional District candidate Tyler Kistner in his race against Rep. Angie Craig.

Kistner appeared on stage before the speech to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

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Minnesota 2nd Congressional District candidate Tyler Kistner takes the stage Oct. 13, 2020, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance before a speech by Eric Trump in southeastern Minnesota. The Republican is running against Democratic Rep. Angie Craig in the Nov. 3 election. Michael Brun / RiverTown Multimedia
Minnesota 2nd Congressional District candidate Tyler Kistner takes the stage Oct. 13, 2020, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance before a speech by Eric Trump in southeastern Minnesota. The Republican is running against Democratic Rep. Angie Craig in the Nov. 3 election. Michael Brun / RiverTown Multimedia

Nora and Doug Felton hosted the ticketed event on their farm near the borders of Goodhue, Rice and Dakota counties. The official campaign stop attracted a packed crowd of more than 200 people inside a metal farm building and a few dozen more watching outside through an open garage door.

Some attendees could be seen wearing face coverings, though most did not.

Tuesday’s event was the first Minnesota appearance by a Trump family member since the president was hospitalized Oct. 2 for COVID-19.

The Minnesota DFL party criticized the Trump campaign and Republicans for a Sept. 18 rally in Bemidji linked to at least 12 cases of COVID-19, including two hospitalizations.

“From the start of this pandemic, Donald Trump and Minnesota Republicans have ignored public health experts and put their re-elections ahead of the health of Minnesotans,” according to a statement by DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin. “It was only a matter of time until the dangerous, maskless campaign events staged by Donald Trump and Minnesota Republicans landed Minnesotans in the hospital.”

An attendee takes a photo of the stage during Donald Trump campaign stop Oct. 13, 2020, on a farm near Northfield, Minnesota. Michael Brun / RiverTown Multimedia
An attendee takes a photo of the stage during Donald Trump campaign stop Oct. 13, 2020, on a farm near Northfield, Minnesota. Michael Brun / RiverTown Multimedia

Virginia and Lynn Douglas of nearby Randolph, Minn., are among the hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans who already have or are expected to vote early or through absentee ballots. The married couple wore their “I voted” stickers to Tuesday’s event, which they said was their first time attending a political rally.

“I think he’s done a wonderful job with the economy,” Virginia Douglas said of the president.

“He did, with no help from the Democrats,” her husband added.

Goodhue County voters favored Republican candidates in the 2016 presidential election and 2018 midterm. Donald Trump received 54.6% of the vote in the county in 2016 compared to 36.7% for Hillary Clinton. The only DFL candidate for federal or state office to carry the county in either election was Sen. Amy Klobuchar in her race against Jim Newberger in 2018.

The state hasn’t gone for a GOP presidential candidate since the reelection of Richard Nixon in 1972.