Thousands of supporters attend Trump rally in Minnesota

RICHFIELD, Minn. -- WIth just hours left until Election Day, Donald Trump tried to do what 10 Republican presidential candidates have failed to accomplish: Win Minnesota.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump rallies with supporters in a cargo hangar at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport in Minneapolis, Minnesota. November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

RICHFIELD, Minn. - WIth just hours left until Election Day, Donald Trump tried to do what 10 Republican presidential candidates have failed to accomplish: Win Minnesota.

In an hour-long rally Sunday at a Minneapolis-St. Paul airport hangar, the Republican nominee said he is sure he can do it.

“They all say on television, why is he going to Minnesota? … So far in two years, I’ve been right and they’ve been wrong,” Trump said, his eponymous-branded plane glittering behind him. “I love Minnesota.”

For Trump and his supporters in Minnesota - a mixture of longtime Republicans, independents and people who don’t usually care about politics - the massive rally before thousands of excited supporters was proof he could win Minnesota and the presidency.

“He’s going to take Florida and Michigan, and I think he’s going to take Minnesota with his stop here today,” said Ryan Hoglund, a 17-year-old Plymouth resident whose inability to vote Tuesday didn’t lessen his enthusiasm for Trump.


But Democrats said Trump’s visit two days before Election Day was a sign he didn’t understand Minnesota - or what it takes to campaign.
“If Donald Trump had spent time in Minnesota before today he would know Minnesotans don’t want anything to do with his dangerous and divisive vision for America,” said state Sen.Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis.

Democrats also said the rally could backfire by firing up the DFL base and pulling thousands of Trump’s biggest supporters away from vital get-out-the-vote work two days before the election.

“Any time you’ve got a volunteer at a rally, they’re not working to turn out your voters,” said Katharine Tinucci, who managed Mark Dayton’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign. “I question the value of taking people off the volunteer work of (get out the vote).”

During the Trump speech alone, the DFL claims its volunteers knocked on 40,000 doors in Minnesota.


Trump’s 40-minute speech repeatedly made references to Minnesota and especially the state’s roughly 25,000 refugees from Somalia. He called that “a disaster taking place in Minnesota.”

“Here in Minnesota you’ve seen firsthand the problems … with faulty refugee vetting,” Trump said.

He said it was “stupid” to bring in refugees who are not properly vetted and referenced the St. Cloud mall stabbing in September. Dahir Adan, the suspect in the stabbing of 10 people, moved to Minnesota from Kenya when he was two and had Islamic State sympathies, according to reports.


Under a Trump administration, the Republican nominee promised, we “will not bring in any refugees without the support of the local community.”

Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chairman Ken Martin, in a statement, said that Trump’s discussion of Somali refugees was “hateful and bigoted” and that Minnesota “has always welcomed those that have come seeking a better life for themselves and their families.”

Although much of the speech was standard Trump fare, he littered the speech with Minnesota references, noting that he won a mock presidential election among Minnesota high schoolers, quoting Dayton on the “no longer affordable” Affordable Care Act and mocking Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for not showing up in the state in the final days of the election.

“Minnesota has really been hurt, so I say, what the hell do you want to put these same people back in office for?” Trump said.


The venue had space for about 9,000 people. With long lines at security and difficult parking, many of the more than 17,000 people who filled out a form for tickets did not get in.

Trump opened his speech by highlighting that fact.

“Who are the geniuses that set this up?” the Republican candidate said in a dig at his own staff.


Though a few audience members complained about a spotty sound system, most said Trump’s speech and the huge crowd that turned out for it were inspiring.
“You feel a sincerity from him that you can’t get on the television, and the energy here is palpable,” said Roxanne Hable, a 54-year-old resident of Hudson, Wis. “I was a Trump supporter going in and an even stronger Trump supporter going out.”

Like Hable, former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann predicted that Trump would win Minnesota.

“Minnesota will be the land of 10,000 miracles,” Bachmann said in a warm-up speech shouted in the echoing airplane hangar.


Bachmann also set up a huge cheer of “Lock her up” when she repeated Trump supporters’ mantra of “Hillary for prison.”

Although Trump said that if Clinton wins, she will be investigated for years, gone from the speech were the repeated mentions of Clinton’s email issues. As Trump was flying from Iowa to Minnesota on Sunday, FBI Director James Comey told Congress that a recent review of new emails won’t change the agency’s July decision to not prosecute Clinton over how she handled classified information.

Trump made no reference to the news, and if audience members knew, it didn’t dampen their repeated “Lock her up” chants.

Bob Krippner, a Hastings resident, wore a “Hillary For Prison” T-shirt and an empty gun holster on his belt to the rally. He said a Trump presidency is “the only way we’re going to get our country back on track.”



The attendees included a number of longtime Republicans, but also independents and political newcomers.

Douglas Lanz and Peter Pentz, both 31-year-old Minneapolis entrepreneurs, are now Trump supporters. But earlier this year they were supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost his campaign to be the Democratic candidate to Clinton.

“I’m voting for Trump for the same reason I voted for Bernie. TPP, NAFTA are very destructive,” said Pentz, referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and North American Free Trade Agreement. “Bernie and Trump represent that sea change of we need to get rid of all this stuff.”

Lanz said his switch from Sanders - who refers to himself a “Democratic socialist” - to Trump wasn’t hard, “after Bernie jumped on the Hillary train. As he soon as he did that, I feel like he betrayed the whole movement.”

The two said they aren’t Democrats or Republicans; both like the more Libertarian views of Ron and Rand Paul.

That is all part of what Trump calls the movement he has created.

“It’s time for all Americans to unite and take back our government,” he said opening the rally.


If he doesn’t win, he said, in four years it will be too late.

“We will make American strong again. … We will make America safe again. We will not allow what’s happening to the great state of Minnesota to continue to happen. It’s not going to happen,” Trump said, before closing with his campaign’s theme:

“We will make America great again”

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