MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Donald Trump is back in Washington Friday morning, after spending more than an hour and a half delivering a campaign rally speech in downtown Minneapolis Thursday night as thousands of protesters demonstrated outside Target Center.
Trump estimated the crowd inside at 20,000 supporters for what was his first rally since House Democrats opened their impeachment inquiry two weeks ago.
President Trump predicted that he would win Minnesota in 2020.
He attacked Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, along with Rep. Ilhan Omar. And the President also threw out taunts at Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President and Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.
“Your father was never considered smart, never considered a good senator. He was only a good Vice-President because he understood how to kiss Barack Obama’s a–,” Trump told a roaring crowd.
Trump spoke for roughly 100 minutes, much of it admittedly off-script. Also speaking last night were the president’s son Eric Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence. Earlier in the evening, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell called Trump and Pence “the greatest President and Vice-President in U.S. history,” and Minneapolis Police Federation head Bob Kroll praised Trump’s support for law enforcement officers.
“The Obama administration and the handcuffing and oppression of police was despicable,” Kroll said. “The first thing President Trump did when he took office was turn that around … he decided to start let cops do their job, put the handcuffs on the criminals instead of (on) us.”
The streets of Minneapolis were quiet and clean Friday morning, very different from how they were just hours prior.
Trump supporters WCCO spoke with in the aftermath of the rally said they waited for hours in the rain to get in, and that did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm. The only negative aspect they noted were about the protestors they encountered.
Protests stayed largely peaceful throughout the day, and then after the rally things intensified, started with chanting, then turned into a shouting match with Trump supporters, along with some pushing and shoving.
At one point, WCCO cameras caught people burning Trump campaign material in the middle of the street, before police arrived with extinguishers to put it out. We also saw one instance of police spraying some sort of irritant at a crowd.
One woman WCCO spoke with last night was concerned by the number of police surrounding protesters. She felt officers were focusing on the wrong group.
“Right-wing extremism is the largest terrorist group around the world. It’s not ISIS. It is not left-wing liberals. It is right-wing extremists, which is the largest killer around the world and (the police) are facing towards the people who are concerned about that,” protester Keri Pickett said. “I think that’s a problem.”
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo released this statement Friday:
On October 10, 2019 the President and Vice President of the United States came to the City of Minneapolis for a campaign rally. This visit motivated tens of thousands of people to visit our vibrant downtown.
Officers from agencies across the metro assisted the Minneapolis Police Department to enhance public safety. Officers worked to ensure people’s First Amendment right to assemble, speak freely and protest. MPD appreciates the community support demonstrated by the law-abiding attendees and their partnership to create a peaceful expression of passionate views.
While the vast majority of people that gathered were peaceful and respectful, officers did engage with some individuals and groups demonstrating aggressive or illegal behavior to address issues related to life safety and property damage. Officers further engaged when assaulted during their response. Objects containing liquid believed to be urine were hurled at some of my officers along with bottles and rocks. Police horses were also assaulted by protesters striking them with sticks.
MPD officers used appropriate levels of force including chemical irritant while responding to, at times, violent and aggressive individuals causing harm to others in attendance. In addition, officers practiced admirable restraint and utilized de-escalation skills to defuse tensions by exiting crowds. As with every use of force, there will be an internal review to ensure policy and procedures were followed. Our primary responsibility will remain to provide for the peace and safety of all those we serve