After weeks of silence, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., for re-election, in Trump’s first Wisconsin stop since accepting the nomination.
Despite a string of recent controversies, Trump remained largely on message during his rally in Green Bay. Trump, along with his running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, stayed on the offensive, deriding President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, particularly for their perceived foreign policy failures and weak security stances.
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Trump originally withheld his endorsement of Ryan, despite that the congressmen endorsed him. Ryan has also been fending off Democrats who demand he withdraw his support for Trump after Trump attacked a Gold Star family‘s faith and sacrifice.
Focusing his speech on Democratic failures, Trump did not mention any of his recent controversies except one — the incident where he demanded a crying baby be removed from his rally. Instead, Trump described the “many shortcomings of the Obama administration” and a waning U.S. presence on the world stage. He added further urgency to his message by painting a dire picture of traditional American life under siege.
“We’re witnessing a horror show here and around the world,” Trump said.
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The crowd of some 5,000 supporters enthusiastically endorsed all of Trump’s positions throughout the rally, including a reiteration of his support for waterboarding. The crowd repeatedly broke out in chants of “lock her up,” referring to Clinton.
Trish Tivo, a Trump supporter, said the controversies Trump has faced during this election cycle have not fazed her. If anything, Tivo said she has enjoyed Trump’s honesty and willingness to speak in a non-politically correct manner.
She said the issues most important to her are border security and the upcoming Supreme Court nominations.
“If crooked Hillary gets in, then I don’t know where this country is going … The Democratic Party is living in a pipe dream,” Tivo said.
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Trump continued his attacks on Obama’s Iran deal, particularly the recent shipment of $400 million in cash, which he called the equivalent of ransom money for U.S. prisoners. Obama has denied the money — the result of a disputed arms deal, stemming from the time of the Shah — had anything to do with recently released U.S. prisoners.
In addition to speaking about his plans to stem the flow of immigrants into the country, Trump highlighted several instances in which immigrants have committed crimes within the country. But Trump’s rhetoric entered new territory with his insinuation that even U.S. citizens of foreign descent could be potential threats.
“An immigrant from Afghanistan who applied for and received U.S. citizenship and an illegal immigrant from the Philippines were convicted for trying to join Al-Qaeda,” Trump said. “An Iraqi immigrant who later applied for and received citizenship was arrested for lying about pledging allegiance to ISIS … and how many Americans he wanted to kill.”
Despite polls showing him far behind Clinton, Trump remained as confident as ever about his victory in November. He said poll numbers at this stage in the election were trivial and he would only pay attention to them after Labor Day.
“You’re going to be begging me Mr. President … the people of Wisconsin can’t stand winning so much,” Trump said. “I’ll say I cant do that, we’re going to win more and more.”