Renee Hickman Wausau Daily Herald
Published 7:13 PM EDT Sep 15, 2020
ROTHSCHILD – With 49 days until the presidential election, Donald Trump Jr. campaigned Tuesday for his father, mixing wisecracks about Democrats Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton with talking points on the economy, China and what he perceives as unfair media coverage of his father.
About 160 people gathered to hear Trump speak at the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Rothschild.
The son of President Donald Trump came to central Wisconsin ahead of his father’s Thursday visit to Mosinee.
The most recent poll by Marquette Law School shows the president trailing former Vice President Biden 47% to 43% in Wisconsin. The president is looking to turn things around in the state, which he won in 2016 with 47.2% of the votes.
The biggest applause lines in the speech seemed to center on cultural issues and Trump’s complaints about the news media. Occasionally plugging his own book, “Liberal Privilege,” Trump repeatedly referenced his Twitter suspension.
In July, Donald Trump Jr.’s Twitter profile was temporarily frozen for spreading misleading claims about COVID-19. “They’ve thrown me off numerous times for, you know, stating facts,” he said Tuesday.
“They suppress us, they censor us, they de-platform conservatives,” Trump said.
The audience was quieter when Trump spoke about the U.S. trade relationship with China, though Wisconsin farmers have been hit hard by retaliatory measures in the trade war between the two nations.
After the event, attendees mingled outside with former U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, who opened the event with a speech of his own.
Angela Dick said the most important issue to her in the upcoming election was “law and order,” echoing a phrase the president has used numerous times in recent campaign speeches, ever since protests swept the country in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
Since then, the president has often referenced the unrest surrounding protests against racial injustice in an attempt to win over suburban swing voters, claiming Biden will bring crime to suburban areas. His critics have called this line of attack a racist dog whistle, or in some cases, a “dog scream.”
When asked if she felt safe in her own community, Dick said she did, but she felt things were getting worse in the area over time.
She said that while she thinks racism is an issue in the country, she thought it was not as bad as protesters from Black Lives Matter and other groups believe it is.
Judy Bone, who attended with her, went further, saying she believes Black Lives Matter is “taking over” the country.
Ed Steeffes said his biggest reason for supporting Trump had to do with his ability to handle the economy.
“Donald Trump’s going to put us back on the right track,” Steeffes said. “I don’t think that Biden has any ability to do that.”
His wife, Margaret, said she admired Trump’s leadership style and his work in the international sphere, mentioned by Donald Trump Jr. during the speech with reference to the Middle East and China. “We’re actually on top of it,” Steeffes said. “We’re finally able to get our manufacturing back.”
Her husband said he admired the way Trump Jr. spoke and what he called his charisma.
“I thought he had some really really great lines, and you couldn’t help but laugh,” he said.
Renee Hickman is a Report For America corps member based at the Wausau Daily Herald covering rural issues in Wisconsin. Contact at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @ReneeNHickman. Please consider supporting journalism that informs our democracy with a tax-deductible gift to this reporting effort at WausauDailyHerald.com/RFA
Published 7:13 PM EDT Sep 15, 2020