As Wisconsin set single-day records for COVID-19 cases and deaths, President Trump continued to demand Gov. Tony Evers “open up” the state.
Trump during a rally Tuesday slammed the national media for what he said was an obsession with “COVID, COVID, COVID” while knocking Dem governors around the country who have taken steps in an attempt to limit the disease’s spread.
Trump continued to insist those moves were designed to hurt him politically and would be lifted the day after the election.
“We gotta tell your governor we gotta open up our state,” Trump said to a round of jeers from the crowd at a racetrack just outside of La Crosse operated by MotorSports Management Company.
Evers’ mask mandate is currently in effect. But an appeals court on Friday put on hold his administration’s limits on public, in-person gatherings. Beyond that, the only restrictions in effect related to COVID-19 have been put in place by local officials.
Trump paused the rally to ask supporters whether they supported Evers only to get a resounding “No!”
“Lots of luck, governor,” Trump said.
In a winding 55-minute address in his eighth visit to the state this year, Trump repeatedly claimed the country was “rounding the corner” from what he referred to as “the China plague” and praised his administration’s efforts to combat COVID-19. It’s a familiar refrain to the one the president trumpeted in a Saturday rally in Waukesha and Oct. 17 in Janesville.
“We’re turning the corner. We’re rounding — like this racetrack, look at this — we’re rounding the curve, we will vanquish the virus,” Trump said.
With 5,262 new COVID-19 cases and 64 deaths, Wisconsin on Tuesday recorded its greatest single-day numbers in both categories. Dr. Ryan Westergaard, the state’s top medical officer, described those figures as “a nightmare scenario.”
Ahead of the president’s rally, a spokeswoman for Dem presidential nominee Joe Biden slammed the Trump administration for its response to the pandemic.
“The Trump administration has admitted openly that they have given up trying to control this virus, and eight months into this pandemic, President Trump’s failures have yielded devastating results,” said Biden for President Wisconsin State Director Danielle Melfi in a statement.
The president fired a number of insult-laced criticisms toward Biden, labeling him “corrupt,” a “shill for foreign countries” and “soft, weak and too scared to be president.”
He also touched on nearly every policy item that’s been before his administration over the last four years, jumping from touting tax and regulation cuts to border security to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade.
“A vote for Republicans is a vote for the American dream,” he said.
Four years ago, he won the state by just 22,728 votes, but he has consistently trailed in publicly available polling. A Marquette University poll from earlier this month showed 41 percent of likely voters backing Trump, while 46 percent backed Biden.
But Trump told the crowd at one point he was up 2 points in the state. Later, he said he was up 3.
He also touted the support of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which endorsed him before the rally. Trump said the group helped him set up the event at the race track after he initially tried to do the rally at the La Crosse airport.
He called representatives from WMC who attended “great people.”
“I said how are we doing? They said, ‘sir, you’re going to win easy,’” Trump said.
He also urged the crowd to get their friends, family and others to the polls while predicting a “red wave” is coming.
“It’s just now starting to form, and they know it’s coming,” Trump said.