Trump holds campaign rally in Milwaukee

Several+Marquette+students+attended+Trump%27s+rally+on+Jan.+14.
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Trump holds campaign rally in Milwaukee

Several Marquette students attended Trump's rally on Jan. 14.

Several Marquette students attended Trump's rally on Jan. 14.

Photo by Maddy Andresen

Several Marquette students attended Trump's rally on Jan. 14.

Photo by Maddy Andresen

Photo by Maddy Andresen

Several Marquette students attended Trump's rally on Jan. 14.

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Members of the Marquette community attended a Jan. 14 campaign rally hosted by President Donald Trump at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panther Arena. 

Attendees had to preregister for the free event through the Trump campaign website to get tickets. Due to the number of people registered for the event, organizers sent an email Tuesday morning to those registered advising them to arrive early to secure admission to the event. 

The event space, which holds 12,000 people, was full. There were overflow areas where the crowd was able to observe the speech from TVs outside, according to Heavy Inc., a private digital media organization that focuses on news coverage.

The Marquette Wire requested media passes for the rally, but did not receive a response. Reporters covered this event from the overflow area.

The Jan. 14 rally marked the president’s first visit to Wisconsin in 2020 and his seventh since entering office. In the 2016 election, Trump narrowly won Wisconsin over Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, who did not visit the state after winning the party’s nomination. Trump won all of Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes, receiving 47.2% of the vote in Wisconsin compared to Clinton’s 46.5%, according to the New York Times. Trump is currently vying for re-election in 2020. 

“I think anybody should be aware of what’s going on in the world and be politically involved … because the world’s changing no matter what, and people have to support one side,” Mark Williams, a sophomore in the College of Engineering and rally attendee, said. “I think having a voice and speaking up for what you believe in is the most vital thing about being a voter in America right now.”

Williams said he was impressed with Trump’s ability to connect to the middle class. He said America’s economy is thriving under the new administration. He added that one of the reasons he supports Trump is because, as a future engineer, he feels that the Trump administration will provide him with job security upon graduation.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, gross domestic product increased 2.1% in the third quarter of 2019. In December, the unemployment rate was 3.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2016, when Trump was elected, the unemployment rate was 4.7%, according to The Balancea website focusing on personal finance. 

Milwaukee Police Department officers closed off streets for the rally and protest in response, creating significant traffic throughout the city. Street vendors selling Trump merchandise lined the streets as the arena filled up. 

The doors to the arena opened at 3 p.m., and Vice President Mike Pence began speaking about an hour before the president spoke at 7 p.m. Pence discussed the accomplishments of Trump. 

In his speech, Trump discussed a wide range of issues from his opponents in the election to the economy and Syria. Trump began with economic improvements, particularly in Wisconsin. He focused on Iran and impeachment and his actions in Ukraine, among other topics.  

“As we begin the year, our economy is booming,” Trump said. “Wages are rising, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling and America is the envy of the entire world.” 

Average hourly earnings for employees decreased from November and December by 0.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Jan. 14. In 2018, the poverty rate was 11.8%, down 0.5% from 2017, according to the United States Census Bureau. According to the Pew Research Center, violent crime has fallen sharply over the past 25 years. 

He raised the topic of the replacement of the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, calling the former “one of the worst trade deals in the history of the world” and the latter “a giant victory for Wisconsin workers, farmers and dairy producers.”

USMCA was a deal signed Nov. 30, 2018 between United States, Canada and Mexico, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, an agency that directly consults with foreign governments to create trade agreements. NAFTA is a trade agreement that went into effect Jan. 1, 1994 and progressively eliminated tariffs between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Williams said he feels people do not see what Trump has been done for the country.

“How he’s using his business mind and making America first and making America the greatest country again and making us a world power where other leaders respect us,” Williams said.

Luke Holub, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, attended the rally and he said he feels Trump is keeping America safe.

“(Democratic candidate) Bernie (Sanders) and the radical left cannot protect your family, and they cannot protect your country, nor do they want to, I think,” Trump said. “If you want to keep America safe, vote Republican.”

Holub said his whole family is big Trump supporters.

Turning to matters of national security and global unrest, Trump discussed his actions in the Middle East, referring to the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, an alleged terrorist.

“A few days ago, we took bold and decisive action to defend American lives and deliver American justice,” Trump said. “Under my direction, the United States military launched a flawless precision strike that killed the world’s number one terrorist: Qasem Soleimani.”

He stressed that there were no American deaths nor injuries from an Iranian counterbombing, though the New York Times reported Friday a military spokesperson said eight Americans showed signs of concussions following a Jan. 8 Iranian missile strike on Iraqi bases.

“While we’re creating jobs and killing terrorists, Democrats in Congress are wasting America’s time with demented hoaxes and crazy witch hunts,” Trump said in reference to recent impeachment hearings concerning his actions in Ukraine.

“I think (Trump’s impeachment) one of the dumbest political shams in American political history,” Williams said. “It’s not a bipartisan effort. (Democratic Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi has been saying the whole time it’s a somber event while she’s smiling, chuckling, signing those impeachment papers. I really don’t think he did anything wrong.”

Pelosi called for a vote Wednesday to bring the articles of impeachment to the Senate. It has been just over a month since the House voted to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of justice, with the first article passing 230-197 and the second 229-198.

Williams previously attended another Trump rally in Battle Creek, Michigan. He compared the two, noting how Trump catered his words to fit his audience. Williams said when he went to Michigan, Trump focused on facts on Michigan.

“But what spoke to me in Milwaukee was how he was able to show that even though we’re in a dense urban population, how he was helping those who are living in poverty get jobs and try to help them with Medicare and all that stuff,” Williams said.

The debate on private versus universal healthcare has seen a rise in recent years following the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

Williams said he was struck by Trump’s charisma and energy. He said the crowd’s reaction made him think Trump is really helping Milwaukee.

Williams said he thinks political involvement is important and believes it is every American’s duty to be informed and vote.

“No matter who you support obviously you’ve got to vote because your vote does make a difference,” Williams said. “That’s one of the greatest things about America, having that right to have a voice and to vote about who you believe is the best fit to be president, being able to have the opportunity to be aware of what’s going on in the world and having an opinion.”

The general election is Nov. 3. The Wisconsin primaries will take place April 7.

This story was written by Shir Bloch. She can be reached at shir.bloch@marquette.edu. 

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton did not visit Wisconsin during her presidential campaign. In fact, Clinton did visit the state during her campaign, but did not after winning the party’s nomination. The Wire regrets this error.