Trump Jr. touts rally turnouts, says crowds make '2016 look like nothing' at Macomb Co. stop

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Washington Township, Mich. — Donald Trump Jr. spoke to a crowd of 300 supporters Monday in a final-stretch effort to rally voters eight days before the election.

Dozens of Trump flags waved in the parking lot of the Michigan Stars Sports Center in Washington Township as voters dressed in Trump gear moved into a gymnasium for the event.

Trump opened the rally saying that after traveling the country, the crowd turnouts this year "make 2016 look like nothing," to a half-empty gymnasium.

"On every TV, they've been promoting how the other side is going to save blue-collar jobs. Does anyone actually believe that?" Trump said. "I’m a son of a billionaire from Manhattan and I’ve had more blue-collar jobs than Joe Biden and his sons."

Make America Great Again! Event with Donald Trump Jr.
Washington, Michigan  
Monday, October 26, 2020

President Donald Trump's oldest son's stop in Macomb County, Michigan's third most populous county that went for Donald Trump 54% to 42% over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, was designed to capture the county again. The county was key to the president's 10,704-vote victory in the state, the narrowest margin in any state across the country.

During his 20-minute speech, Trump criticized Hunter Biden's business in Ukraine. He accused Joe Biden of selling out America during his vice presidency and said if Biden were elected, the left would have “free healthcare, free illegals and free housing for criminals.”

“It’s insane, and you have the privileges of paying for it, and you know what you don’t have the privilege of? Having it for yourself,” he said. He also tossed in that Biden would eliminate fracking, something the former vice president has clarified to say he would do so only on federal lands.

He also touched on the LGBTQ community and Black Lives Matter movement.

"Looking at the Democratic platform: Look at who they're fighting for. They would rather argue about 976 different genders they can't name. Sorry. That was this morning. I've been on the road, there's probably another 30 by now," Trump said, to silence from the crowd.

"They're telling police to stand down and not protect people. It's the first time in American history you get in more trouble for opening up your business to feed your family than you get for burning that business down," he said. "That s--- has got to stop."

U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, D-Bloomfield Township, accused the Trump administration of giving up on containing COVID-19 after months "of lying about the deadly pandemic," adding that Trump's attendance in Macomb County on Monday was only to "continue his dad's misinformation campaign."

"The consequences for Macomb County have been disastrous: cases are spiking, hospitals are reaching capacity, and the economy is in the tank because of Donald Trump’s reckless disregard for our state," Levin said. 

Trump also talked about unsubstantiated claims of corruption by the Bidens, touted a peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and more recently, an agreement to normalize relations between Sudan and Israel.

“These two (Biden and Kamala Harris) make crooked Hillary look not so bad. Crooked ain't so crooked anymore,” he said, as the crowd chanted 'Lock her up.' “She’s smarter.”

The son said his father saw “four peace deals done in the Middle East and what do you hear about, nothing,” he said.

"Please tell me one thing our experts have accomplished in the Middle East in the last 40 years,” he said. “… They don’t know. But rather than sending our kids there for no reason, (Trump) is bringing them back and building our military up in case we need it."

Trump Jr. visited the Upper Peninsula on Thursday.

The Republicans are trying to sweep all 15 counties in the Upper Peninsula after winning 14 of 15 in 2016. They are focusing on Marquette County, which was the only U.P. county that supported Clinton.

Trump's campaign has been inundating the state with visits by the president, Vice President Mike Pence, and the president's three oldest children, including White House adviser Ivanka Trump. 

In a Sept. 30-Oct. 3 Detroit News-WDIV poll, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden led Trump 48% to 39% among 600 likely Michigan voters. The survey by Glengariff Group had a margin of error of plus-minus 4 percentage points.

Earlier on Monday, Trump Jr. campaigned in neighboring Ohio.

Many of the Michigan attendees received text messages and messages on social media notifying them of the last-minute rally. Jennifer Pulcini of Clinton Township said she wishes people would get over President Trump's unapologetic personality.

"I always tell people, sometimes you need someone who is tougher, brasher and has been in the business," said Pulcini, 53. "I'm hoping to continue on the path he was on before COVID. I truly believe he has America in his best interest. Otherwise, why do it? He didn't need to and isn't getting anything from it."

Gloria Guglielmetti of Washington Township praised the attention Macomb County was getting.

"We're so excited for this election, and based on the economy, we have the best chance to move it forward with President Donald Trump," said Guglielmetti, 47. "His platform is freedom and choice while the other side is controlling and being told what to do."

Twitter: @SarahRahal_