MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Whether by plane or by train, the presidential candidates are hitting the campaign trail hard after Tuesday night’s chaotic debate.
While Democratic challenger Joe Biden focused his attention back east, President Donald Trump held a big rally at the Duluth International Airport Wednesday night. He landed there at about 8 p.m. after attending a fundraiser in Shorewood, hosted by Cambria CEO Marty Davis.
In Duluth, the president spoke for what is for him an unusually short rally speech of 45 minutes. He did mention several times how cold it was. He was greeted by a crowd of what looked like several thousand enthusiastic supporters.
He opened with an election day predication.
“Thirty-four days from now, we are going to win Minnesota, and we are going to win four more beautiful years in the White House,” Trump said.
The president praised his own debate performance, despite mixed reviews even from some supporters.
“The verdict is in, and we won big last night,” Trump said.
A very small number of protestors were arrested, while the crowd was one of the largest public gatherings in Minnesota since the pandemic — a fact that the president acknowledged.
“It’s an honor that so many people showed up because this was going to be a little quickie, just to say congratulations because Obama closed the Iron Range and I opened it,” Trump said.
The president took swipes at one of his favorite targets: Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
“How the hell did Minnesota elect her? What the hell is wrong with you people?” Trump said.
He also predicted Biden would open up the state to a flood of refugees.
“What we have done for Minnesota, if I lose Minnesota, I am never coming back,” he said.
For his part, Biden took a train trip through the swing states Ohio and western Pennsylvania. On one stop, he described the president’s debate performance this way.
“I think it was a national embarrassment,” Biden said.
At a drive-in event in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Biden doubled down as he focused on the pandemic.
“He knew how serious this pandemic was. He knew how quickly it would spread. Thousands of people would get killed, but he forgot to say a single thing to us,” Biden said. “The man doesn’t deserve to be commander in chief.”
Biden’s campaign released a statement on Trump’s Wednesday visit to Minnesota, saying, “Trump refused to take responsibility for his mismanagement of a pandemic that has cost Minnesota more than 130,000 jobs and claimed the lives of more than 2,000 Minnesotans. He tried to distract from the fact that his administration is in court trying to eliminate protections for those with pre-existing conditions and take away health coverage from 265,000 Minnesotans in the middle of a pandemic … Minnesotans deserve a president who will bring us together — not tear us further apart — and focus every single day on making their lives better. That starts with coming together to defeat COVID-19 and rebuilding our economy to include every Minnesotan.”
Republicans say they expect to see the president back in Minnesota before the election. Thursday, his son Eric Trump will campaign at a trucking company in Becker.
Biden’s wife, Jill, will campaign in Minneapolis on Saturday.