MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Vice President Mike Pence visited Minneapolis Thursday. He is scheduled to speak at an event called “Cops for Trump.” The vice president is focusing his message on public safety.

In fact, just before that scheduled event, he made an unscheduled stop at a hair salon burned down during the unrest following George Floyd’s death. Pence and Ivanka Trump spoke with the owner, Flora Westbrooks.

The campaign for President Donald Trump is bringing the message of supporting police and law and order to bring home an argument that Republicans feel can help them up and down the ballot, especially in Minneapolis, where George Floyd died.

Trump’s ads have tried to link Joe Biden to the defund the police movement. One of the President’s ads said, “Their calls for defunding the police are making it worse, President Trump is making it stop.”

Biden surrogate former Attorney General Eric Holder says, “They are trying to scare the American people. He has said very clearly he is not for defunding the police.”

Republicans clearly believe law and order is their winning ticket, not just in Minnesota but across the country. In Minnesota, that strategy was accidently leaked by a Republican state representative, who mistakenly sent a campaign memo to state Democrats instead of Republicans.

“COVID issues are not our winning message. PUBLIC SAFETY is our ticket to the majority, let’s win with that,” the memo read.

Political analyst David Schultz told WCCO that’s true for the presidential race, where the president’s worst polling is on the coronavirus.

“On the other hand, there is some evidence to suggest his discussions of law and order are working to his advantage, not just motivating voters who are part of his base but also perhaps resonating with some suburban voters,” Schultz said.

Minnesota Democrats, in a pre-Pence visit Zoom call, said Democrats need to turn the conversation back to COVID. Lindsey Port, a survivor of the virus and Democratic candidate for Minnesota Senate District 56, said, “I don’t understand how we can look at 200,000 Americans dead over six months and not call that a public safety isssue.”

Biden’s campaign released a statement on Pence’s visit, saying” “In Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s America, 2,000 Minnesotans have died from COVID-19 and tens of thousands more have lost their jobs due to the administration’s failed response to the coronavirus.”

Earlier in the day, Pence and Ivanka Trump campaigned in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Esme Murphy

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