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Mount Pleasant — The former campaign manager for President Donald Trump fired up the crowd at the start of a two-day Republican convention, praising the president for a job well done in his first year.

“Look where we have come in one year,” Corey Lewandowski said, noting the recent U.S. tax overhaul signed into law and Neil Gorsuch being appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

He defended some of Trump’s controversial proposals, such as building a wall across the southern border to cut down on illegal crossings.

“We’re a sovereign nation,” Lewandowski said. “We need to put a wall up on our southern borders ... to make sure our individuals, the people who are here, are protected.”

He also praised Trump for proposing to end “chain migration.”

“We’re gonna do what is best for America, just like Canada, just like Australia does ... they take care of themselves first,” he said.

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Lewandowski, 44, spoke at the Battle Cry ’18 event sponsored by the Michigan Conservative Coalition at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort.

He ran Trump’s presidential campaign from January 2015 to June 2016, when Paul Manafort took over. The political commentator for Fox News was a homeland security lobbyist before joining Trump’s campaign.

Congress asked Lewandowski to testify about his knowledge of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election. He answered questions in mid-January about his time in the campaign but refused to answer inquiries about anything after that, said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Lewandowski said he wasn’t prepared, Shiff said, after previously saying he would answer all of the committee’s questions.

“Never, ever, ever did we coordinate or cooperate or collude with any Russians,” Lewandowski told Fox News in mid-January.

Lewandowski had misdemeanor battery charges dropped after he allegedly grabbed a Breitbart News reporter’s arm in a rough manner in March 2016.

mgerstein@detroitnews.com

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