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President Trump targets Rick Snyder ahead of Michigan visit

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

President Donald Trump slammed Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Twitter Thursday night, a day before the GOP incumbent visits the battleground state for a stop in Oakland County.

Snyder, a Republican who endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, twice won Oakland County, Michigan's second-most populous county. Trump lost the county by 8 percentage points in 2016 to Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Before Trump's tweet on Thursday, Snyder appeared on Fox News, where he discussed his vote for Biden.

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Muskegon County Airport, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in Norton Shores.

"Failed RINO former Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan was a disaster with respect to the Flint Water CATASTROPHE, and a very bad Governor overall. He hurt so many people with his gross incompetence. He reminds me of Sleepy Joe!," Trump tweeted at 7:34 p.m. Thursday.

"RINO" means Republican in name only, and "Sleepy Joe" is a nickname Trump has given Biden.

Snyder appeared on the Fox News show "Your World" on Thursday.

"We shouldn't let partisanship get in the way of good decision-making for our country," said Snyder, according to Fox News. "Joe Biden is a better decision than Donald Trump for the next four years."

The former two-term Michigan governor, whose slogan has been "relentless positive action," announced his endorsement of Biden on Sept. 3.

"I believe in civility," Snyder told The News at the time. "I believe in treating people with respect and trying to solve problems together, and we need to get back on that path.”​​​​​​

Trump criticized Snyder after the announcement. At that time, the president said Snyder was "responsible" for the "Flint water disaster."

The state of Michigan agreed in August to pay $600 million to residents harmed in the Flint water crisis, which began in April 2014, after the city of Flint pulled water from the Flint River for 18 months without treating it to reduce corrosion. The water caused lead contamination from untreated old pipes.

Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes in 2016, his smallest margin of victory nationally.

His campaign is targeting the state in the days ahead of Tuesday's election. Trump was in Lansing for a rally on Tuesday and will appear in Waterford Township on Friday.

cmauger@detroitnews.com