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Nugent: Michigan went from 'Arsenal of Democracy' to Hash Bash

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Hanover Township, Mich. — Musician Ted Nugent slammed Michigan's current leaders on Tuesday, suggesting at one point that Lansing is "infested with Black Lives Matter and antifa terrorists."

Nugent, a Michigan native, made the comments during a campaign event in Jackson County that focused on farmers and ranchers who support Republican President Donald Trump's re-election. The event, which drew about 100 people to a farm in Hanover Township, also featured a speech by Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, the top lawmaker in the state Senate.

Musician Ted Nugent performs at a campaign event in support of President Donald Trump on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020 in Hanover Township.

"When I was born here, it was the 'Arsenal of Democracy.' We stopped making trucks and cars, and we made bombers and jets and howitzers," Nugent said, referring to Detroit auto manufacturers' role in World War II. "Now, we've got a Hash Bash. How embarrassing."

Hash Bash is an annual event in Ann Arbor focused "on the goal of reforming federal, state, and local marijuana laws," according to its website.

Nugent, who was born in the Detroit area in 1948 and is a champion of hunting rights, criticized Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, saying Michigan had turned into a "Gov. Whitmer s---hole." He encouraged hunters and farmers to register to vote and recruit their friends and neighbors to take part in the Nov. 3 election, in which Trump is running against former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee.

"Michigan isn't run by communists because they're more clever than we are. Lansing isn't infested with Black Lives Matter and antifa terrorists because they're more clever than we are," Nugent said referring apparently to anti-fascist protesters. "We were sleeping."

"Worse than Marxism, worse than communism is apathy."

The musician spoke for about 10 minutes and performed briefly for the crowd.

The event took place on the farm of state Rep. Julie Alexander, R-Hanover Township. It occurred a day before Biden is scheduled to visit Michigan on Wednesday and two days before Trump visits on Thursday.

Michigan's Republican National Committeewoman Kathy Berden was in attendance Tuesday night. She credited Trump's U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement

"I think the undercurrent is our president is coming on stronger and stronger," Berden said.

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, who spoke at the Tuesday event, said the level of support he's seeing for Trump is "unbelievable."

"If he loses with this type of support, the cities have disregarded the rest of the country," Walberg said. "I think it's still very good for Trump here."

The president won Michigan by 10,704 votes in 2016, his closest margin of victory nationally.

With two months remaining before the Nov. 3 election, Biden led the Republican incumbent 47% to 42%, according to a poll of 600 likely state voters released by The Detroit News and WDIV on Tuesday.

cmauger@detroitnews.com