Trump inflates 2016 Grand Rapids crowd size

More than a year later, President Donald Trump is still talking about winning Michigan, though his claim on a particular campaign crowd size misses the mark.

When Trump held a rally this month in Pensacola, Florida, he bragged he had more than 30,000 people at his 2016 election-eve rally in Grand Rapids at a DeVos Place hall.

“We went to Michigan, the night of the election. I got there, started speaking at 12:30 in the evening. It was already Election Day. We had 32,000 people there,” Trump said.

But the president’s estimate is about eight to 10 times more people than could have fit inside the west Michigan venue.

The Trump rally was held in Exhibit Hall B of DeVos Place, a theater-style space that has a maximum capacity of 4,544 seats, said Eddie Tadlock, assistant general manager.

The hall wasn’t set up in theater style, so the capacity was smaller, Tadlock said. When the campaign brought in several sets of bleachers that took up a large footprint in the hall, the seating capacity fell closer to 3,000 seats, he told The Detroit News in a Wednesday email.

Trump went on in his Florida speech to note that a Republican hadn’t won Michigan in more than two decades.

Hillary Clinton went there in an emergency because she was told that day that she was doing badly in Michigan. She went there. She had a crowd of like 600 people. I had 32,000 people. At 1 in the morning. I said: Why are we not going to win? And we won,” the president said.

Trump was apparently referring to Clinton’s speech on the day before the 2016 election to a capacity crowd of 4,600 people at the Grand Valley State University field house in Allendale.

The same day last year, then-President Barack Obama rallied a crowd of 9,000 people gathered at the University of Michigan's baseball stadium in Ann Arbor.

Candidate’s favorite day of Kwanzaa

Politicians are known and ignored for their holiday bromides. But Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Abdul El-Sayed ‏was willing to be specific this week about his appreciation of Kwanzaa.

After the former Detroit health department chief tweeted Tuesday “Wishing all those celebrating today a safe and blessed Kwanzaa. Habari gani!” he quickly answered a Detroit News question about his favorite day of the seven-day African-American celebration following Christmas.

“Day 3: Ujima - that’s the spirit that we’re all going to have to believe in for 2018,” the 30-year-old son of Egyptian immigrants tweeted back, referring to the day celebrating “shared work and responsibility.”

While former Michigan Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer is considered the front runner for the Democratic nomination, El-Sayed has been trying to gain the support of the Bernie Sanders’ wing of the party. He has pushed platforms seeking to make Michigan a “sanctuary state” and pledging a moratorium on water shutoffs in Detroit and throughout the state.

Contributors: Melissa Nann Burke and Richard Burr