Thousands of people gathered during a deadly pandemic at a Trump campaign rally in Waukesha on October 24, where the president again dismissed the seriousness of a coronavirus that has already claimed 220,000 American lives.
The president’s rally at Stein’s Aircraft Services at the Waukesha County Airport was his second visit to Wisconsin within the last eight days, with another rally planned for Tuesday in West Salem.
It came on the same day that Wisconsin’s week-long average of new daily COVID-19 cases hit an all-time high of 4,050. In the past week, nearly 200 Wisconsinites have died from the illness.
Trump has lied for months, repeatedly saying that the pandemic was “rounding the turn,” and blamed high numbers across the country on a high level of testing. But in Wisconsin, the positivity rate of all tests has also hit record levels.
The rally was initially planned to take place at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, but the Trump campaign was denied access to that facility by Milwaukee County officials because of the city’s 250-person limit on gatherings.
In the final days of the election, Trump is making a push to win Wisconsin, which is regarded as a key swing state. Numerous polls show that Trump trailing in Wisconsin.
“By the way, you have to get out and vote,” he said. “If I don’t win this state, I’m going to come back and I’m going to be very angry at you.”
Trump said he voted “straight Republican” when cast his own ballot early in Florida that morning. He changed his residency from New York to Florida last year.
In the middle of his political rhetoric, Trump played anti-Biden propaganda videos on a jumbotron. Representative Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, and Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau spoke to the crowd before the president arrived.
Trump’s decision to hold an in-person rally was criticized by Rural America 2020, an agricultural advocacy group that placed a billboard nearby that read “TRUMP COVID SUPERSPREADER EVENT,” with an arrow pointing toward the airport.
Former Vice President Joe Biden released a statement ahead of Trump’s visit condemning his handling of the virus.
“Just this week, 47 Wisconsinites lost their lives in a single day, and the sad truth is that it didn’t have to be this bad,” it said. Biden has visited Wisconsin several times on the campaign trail, but hasn’t held any large-scale rallies.
Earlier on October 24, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul condemned Trump’s rallies during a call with reporters.
“It’s another example of the president putting his political interests and what he thinks is in his political interests ahead of the health of Wisconsinites,” he said.
Rural America 2020 and Mаndеl Ngаn
Originally published on Wisconsin Public Radio as Trump Says Pandemic Is ‘Rounding The Turn’ As Wisconsin Sees Deadliest Week Yet