By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The spotlight turns to Minnesota and Wisconsin, as President Donald Trump brings his campaign to the Midwest.

He made two stops in Minnesota Monday, before traveling to Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

READ MORE: Before Mankato Stop, President Trump Speaks At MSP, Promising Law And Order

This was a far different campaign stop than the president’s other visits. There were no massive overflow crowd. Instead, there was a crowd of several hundred carefully-chosen party regulars and VIPs.

The crowd of invited guests gave the president a resounding ovation as he predicted victory.

“We’re gonna win this state, we’re going to take back the White House,” Trump said.

(credit: CBS)

Mankato is the heart of Trump country in Minnesota. He carried central and rural Minnesota by double-digit margins in 2016. Trump also almost won the state, losing by only 50,000 votes.

The president and his supporters point to an Emerson Poll out last week which shows he is trailing Joe Biden in Minnesota by only three points, which is within the margin of error. The president touted his economic record, saying he will revive the economy again, and blamed China for the coronavirus.

“Before the China virus invaded our shores, we built the greatest economy in history. There was nothing like it. We were beating everybody, including China,” Trump said.

He also touted his record of helping the mining industry in Minnesota’s Iron Range, saying he personally has revived the industry despite the economic harm caused by pandemic.

“Our miners are back on the job and wages have increased by as much as 50%, and they’re doing great, even during the China plague,” Trump said. “The China plague will fade, but we will not forget. But if Biden wins, the Iron Range will be shut down forever, you know that. He’ll shut it down very early on, forever.”

The president bashed opponents Biden and Kamala Harris for their radical agenda. He also took time to slam Minnesota Democrats, including Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

From Mankato, the president flew to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in another must-win state for him. It’s also the state that helped deliver his 2016 presidential win.

READ MORE: Wisconsin Democrats Lay Blame On Trump At Convention’s Start

Attorney General Keith Ellison spoke for the DFL about the president’s visit Monday, saying he hoped the president would have come to Minnesota with a message of unity. Ellison says Democrats are energized.

“People are excited. Usually you see people get excited after Labor Day. Not this year,” Ellison said. “People are pumped, and they are working hard already.”

Ellison hopes that message will continue as the Democratic National Convention starts Monday night.

Democratic Gov. Tim Walz reacted to the president’s stop in his hometown of Mankato, saying, “Our state deserves a partner in Washington who will work with us to address the most pressing challenges facing communities throughout our state, rather than further divide us and distract from the real issues facing the country.”

Esme Murphy

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