Harrison Township — Eager, mostly unmasked supporters of President Donald Trump crowded Monday evening along the Clinton River in anticipation of a “Make America Great Again” rally with Kid Rock and Donald Trump Jr. at a Macomb County boat club.
Trump Jr.’s visit to Michigan, along with Kimberly Guilfoyle, chair of the president’s victory campaign and Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, is part of a multi-state schedule this week to promote Republican President Donald Trump’s agenda amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scores of spectators draped in Trump 2020 flags, wearing red “Make American Great Again” baseball caps and beaded necklaces lined the streets near the venue and gathered in and around the marina near Bumpers Landing Boat Club, awaiting the evening’s event. Flags and massive campaign signs were staked along North River Road and cars, including the mobile Trump Unity Bridge, jammed parking lots for blocks in hopes of catching a glimpse.
The gathering comes after Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and Trump each held campaign-related rallies in the state last week.
Jeff Brown docked his 42-foot house boat not far from the barge where the campaign event is slated to be held with about a dozen friends and relatives. The 70-year-old Farmington Hills resident said Trump Jr. and Rock “represent the real American, blue-collar people.”
Brown said he donates to Trump’s campaign monthly and has proudly displays a Trump and American flag in his front yard for the past four years.
“He stands up for our country. He changed the NAFTA agreement. He’s completely for America only,” said Brown, who called Biden “weak.”
“I don’t think he’s capable of running any kind of business, period, let alone our government,” he said of Biden. “He’s going to be a puppet for the socialism group.”
Supporters began to funnel in close together around 5:30 p.m.; most weren’t wearing protective face masks.
Eileen Tesch of Algonac donned a bright orange jacket and hat, and held a drink as she described her excitement about changing “all our plans” to attend the rally. She took part in 2016 rallies for Trump, but this was her first in this election cycle.
“I’m very pro-life,” said Tesch, 61. “He’s a very wise man and I’m praying for him every day.”
Rock posted on Instagram ahead of the Monday night appearance alongside Trump Jr. that he has a documentary, new music and tour in the works.
The musician also voiced his support for Trump in the election, noting he could “care less about the continuous attacks from the left wing media.”
Trump on Thursday made his first campaign stop in Michigan since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Before a crowd of about 5,000 inside an airport hangar in Freeland, Trump boasted about all he’s done for Michigan, including claims of rescuing the already revived auto industry. He lashed out at Biden and Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
“No president has done for Michigan what President Trump has done for Michigan,” the president told the crowd in Saginaw County.
Trump has publicly clashed with Whitmer in the last six months over her handling of the virus outbreak. On Thursday night he reiterated his call for Whitmer to “open up your state,” labeling her a “liberal hypocrite” since her husband sought to get his boat launched during the pandemic in May. Whitmer has said the request was a failed attempt at humor.
The president won Michigan by 10,704 votes in 2016 against Democrat Hillary Clinton, and is hoping for a repeat in the battleground state on Nov. 3.
Trade policy promises are a key issue in the fall campaign, and it was a focus of Trump’s speech.
In January, he signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement. Under the new deal, automakers will have to produce cars with 75% of parts originating from the U.S., Canada or Mexico to qualify for duty-free treatment, up from NAFTA’s 62.5% level.
Biden, who addressed the public Wednesday from the parking lot of the United Auto Workers Region 1 headquarters in Warren, detailed plans to financially penalize companies that move jobs overseas and provide a tax credit for those who invest within the country’s borders. Biden told a group of union workers in Detroit that Trump was allowing the country to go to “Hell in a handbasket economically.”
“We’re not doing a thing about it,” Biden said last week of Trump’s administration.
Biden led the Republican incumbent 47% to 42% in a poll of 600 likely Michigan voters released by The Detroit News and WDIV on Tuesday. The poll had a margin of error of plus-minus 4 percentage points.