President Trump on Friday said Minnesota imposed a new 250-person cap on outdoor rallies because Democratic candidate Joe Biden “can’t draw flies” — as both candidates head there for campaign events.
Trump told reporters at the White House that 25,000 people would have attended a Friday night rally in Rochester, southeastern Minnesota, if not for the new state limit on outdoor gatherings.
“We’re having a problem with some people in Minnesota where they have a cap because Biden goes there and he can’t draw flies, he can’t draw anybody — gets a few cars, I guess, and they honk their horns,” Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn.
“We’ve got the biggest crowds in the history of politics and I think you will all be witness to that because there’s never been anybody that has ever had bigger crowds or more enthusiasm than we have. So we have 25,000 people in Minnesota, which is our last stop today — 25,000 people want to be there, and they say you can only have 250 people.”
Trump said “they thought I’d cancel, but I’m not cancelling and we’ll find out what happens.”
The president did not explicitly commit to respecting the 250-person limit. He’s defied local officials elsewhere, including making last-minute venue changes in Nevada to circumvent that state’s Democratic governor, Steve Sisolak.
The White House’s daily guidance for reporters advertised the Minnesota rally as a “Make America Great Again Peaceful Protest.” The guidance did not describe rallies Friday in Michigan and Wisconsin as “protests.”
Biden will hold a “drive in” rally in Saint Paul, Minn., on Friday afternoon. The socially distanced events amid the COVID-19 pandemic generally attract a few dozen vehicles.
Trump routinely jabs Democratic politicians for being more accepting of sometimes violent anti-police brutality protests while attempting to ban church services and rallies.
He blamed Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz for the crowd limit in a morning tweet, writing, “Now the Governor, at the last moment, will only allow the first 250 people to attend. Riots plus Omar = WIN!”
The new Minnesota crowd limits were imposed amid reports linking COVID-19 cases to prior Trump rallies.
Trump spoke to thousands of supporters during September trips to Duluth and Bemidji, in northern Minnesota. He also visited Mankato in southern Minnesota in August as he resumed domestic travel amid the pandemic.
The RealClearPolitics polling average has Biden ahead by 4.7 percentage points in Minnesota. Trump narrowly lost the state to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Trump told reporters he believes he can flip the state on Nov. 3.
“We have 25,000 people in Minnesota and they’re there because they’re angry at the riots and they know that I stopped them but I stopped them after it was requested and very late. They should have requested it two weeks earlier. But they’re angry at [Democratic Rep. Ilhan] Omar, they’re angry at all of this stuff that’s going on in Minnesota and I think it’s gonna flip for the first time since 1972,” he said.
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