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Eric Trump slams Biden, 'crazy' Democratic Party at appearance in Novi

Novi — President Donald Trump's son Eric slammed his father's Democratic rival Joe Biden, citing public fumbles he's made along the campaign trail and priorities of the "crazy party."

In a push to secure four more years of Republican leadership in the White House, Eric Trump touted a stabilized economy under his father's leadership and continued focus on a strong military, improved care for veterans and crackdowns on illegal immigration.

“We are winning this state. We are going to win Michigan, make no mistake about it," Eric Trump told a crowd of several hundred inside the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. "This isn't Democrats versus Republicans. This is right versus wrong."

Eric Trump gives a double thumbs up near the end of his speech.

A Sept. 30-Oct. 3 Detroit News-WDIV poll of 600 likely Michigan voters found Biden leading Trump 48%-39%.

In the nearly 15-minute speech, Trump attacked misstatements made by Biden on Zoom calls and during in-person events, including accidentally telling groups that he's "running for Senate" and stressed "No you're not, you're running for commander in chief."

Trump also referenced a recent Zoom call in which Biden reportedly referred to the state of Arizona as a city. 

"Guys, this is their best and brightest," the president's son told the crowd. "This is what we're running against."

He argued that the Democratic Party wants to "bankrupt our economy" and "get rid of law enforcement and take away your guns." It was in part a reference to the defund the police movement.

Biden traveled to Ohio Monday and Doug Emhoff, the husband of vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, made three stops in Michigan

During a drive-in rally in Toledo on Monday, Biden knocked Trump for failing to bring Democrats and Republicans together to work out a stimulus program this fall to boost the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The nation's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at about 8% in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Eric Trump's visit to Novi follows the abrupt cancellation of a stop that had been planned for a New Hudson gun shop. The business owner made the decision Monday after realizing that a man briefly employed there was arrested as part of the alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

People wait in line outside the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, before Eric Trump speaks.

Ed Swadish, owner of Huron Valley Guns, told The Detroit News the person in question worked for him for about three weeks beginning in February. The business "cut him loose" after noticing behaviors that other employees weren't comfortable with, including the person wearing tactical gear on one occasion, Swadish said.

"The governor would have had a field day against the Trump campaign," Huron Valley Guns said in a Monday Facebook post. "They would accuse the administration of sending his son to a facility where terrorists work and train.

"This could not be further from the truth, but imagine the left spin."

Eric Trump, the son of President Donald Trump, speaks at a campaign rally for his father in Monroe, N.C., Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020.

On the advice of his lawyer, Swadish wouldn't identify the person but said the individual worked on the gun range.

Federal agents revealed Thursday that they arrested 13 people and thwarted a plot to violently overthrow the government as well as kidnap and harm Whitmer.

Outside the showplace, a couple hundred supporters lined the sidewalk early Tuesday waiting to gain access to a second-floor ballroom. Most were outfitted in Trump campaign shirts and baseball caps or wearing American flag scarves. 

Tuesday's rally was the first for Sarah and Ryan Alman of Fenton. The pair said they back the president and his policies and believe he's earned a second term.

"If anything, from 2016, I think he's garnered more support. I love everything about him. His tweets and rhetoric and everything. He's changing Washington for the better in my opinion," said Ryan Alman, 28, a janitorial manager.

"I don't think there will be any issues," added Sarah Alman, 26, of Trump's reelection chances

Ryan Alman said Biden is like other politicians who will "do anything to get your vote."

"I think he's doing a lot of that," he said. "I think he doesn't want to say a lot of things to lose his base. I don't know how much of a base he really has."

South Lyon resident Caleb Szews, 18, will head to the polls for the first time in November. Szews last year attended a Trump rally in Grand Rapids. 

"This is going to be a very historical election in terms of the livelihood of America and our democracy," he said. 

Szews' father, John Szews, an Air Force veteran, argued the coronavirus is being used as a "political weapon" to deflect from the real issues. 

"Why aren't we talking policy? Why aren't we talking about moving America forward? That's what this ought to be, about the policies," he said. "I just think there's an agenda out there that is pushing something that is not American. That's why we're here."

"The Trump campaign is being condemned because we're not all masked up. Well, it's our God-given right if we want to get sick or not," he said. "I've done a lot of research on the 'science' of this and the politicization of this and I feel like we're extremely informed."

Oakland County Democratic Party Chair Vaughn Derderian said in a Tuesday statement that "no matter where Eric Trump goes in our state, he can't escape his father's broken promises and failed leadership."

"Whether he’s at a gun range or a convention center, Eric Trump will spin lies about this administration’s disastrous record," Derderian said. "Here’s the truth: Donald Trump’s failed COVID-19 response has devastated our state, leaving almost 7,000 dead in our state and sending unemployment skyrocketing."

The Republican president prevailed in Michigan in 2016 by 10,704 votes.The Nov. 3 general election is the state’s first presidential election in which residents can vote early with an absentee ballot after no-reason absentee voting was legalized in 2018.

For subscribers: See where Michigan absentee ballot requests are greatest

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said last week that the number of absentee ballots requested for the November election ballooned to nearly 2.7 million, or more than three times the requests in 2016.

South Lyon resident Jenny London, a supporter of Trump's policies, said it was a comfort to be at the rally and around like-minded voters amid political tensions.

"It gets discouraging," said London, a 47-year-old psychologist. "We're all humans ... no matter what side your on."

cferretti@detroitnews.com