WAUKESHA — Former President Donald Trump sought to bolster his chosen candidate for governor of Wisconsin in the Republican suburb of Milwaukee at a rally on Friday, adding pressure to a contentious primary that will be decided on Tuesday.
Here are five takeaways from the gathering held at the Waukesha County Fairgrounds:
Tim Michels was fired
Governor hopeful Tim Michels gave one of his most forceful speeches yet, buoyed by Trump’s late appearance. The construction manager, who entered the race late and climbed in the polls after Trump’s endorsement, hopes to capitalize on the momentum, particularly in the Milwaukee suburb of Kleefisch territory. Election integrity, Michels said, is his No. 1 priority.
“We’re going to stop the Zuckerbucks, foreign billionaires, from coming into our state and taking over our electoral process. That’s not going to happen again.” Michels was referring to grants to Wisconsin municipalities funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. The courts upheld the private grants, most of which went to major cities where Democratic voters are concentrated.
After:The five-city grants are at the heart of Wisconsin Republicans’ election review. Here are the activities under surveillance
Michels continued to hammer home his brand as a race underdog and denounced the influence of lobbyists in the election.
“My opponent, her husband is also a lobbyist. We need to get these people out of government. We need to bring some purity back into government.”
After:With enormous wealth, Tim Michels can afford to stay on the air in the race for governor of Wisconsin
Trump is hungry for another win
The former president began his speech by bragging about recent high-profile primary victories for his endorsed candidates in Arizona and Michigan. With a somewhat mixed record for endorsement strength so far, he is looking to seal the streak with a “massive” Michels win next Tuesday.
“Now you have to understand who Tim is…he’s building massive tunnels, infrastructure, he’s digging through the dirt, he’s digging through the mountains,” Trump said. “It is high time.”
Trump also has another shot at victory with Adam Steen, his recently endorsed nominee against State Speaker Robin Vos in Assembly District 63. Trump and his allies have grown increasingly agitated against Vos for not having done more to decertify the results of the 2020 election in Wisconsin. The crowd loudly applauded Steen’s call to “launch Vos”.
“We need to fire Robin Vos and replace him with Adam Steen,” Trump said. “A lot of people think (Vos is) a Democrat, actually.”
Gableman prays for Trump, backs Vos’ challenger
Former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman kicked off the event by praying for God to protect Trump.
Gableman’s investigation of the 2020 presidential election results provided no evidence of fraud. He has repeatedly asserted that his investigation was non-partisan.
After:‘An incompetent circus’: Michael Gableman’s 2020 election review hits 1 year and $1 million mark with little to show
The “gentleman justice,” whom Vos recruited for the fraud investigation and who until recently authorized to pay Gableman $11,000 a month, also endorsed Steen Friday in an announcement made by Trump. Gableman joins State Representative Janel Brandtjen, who also endorsed Steen even though Vos had previously chosen her to chair the Assembly Elections Committee.
After:A Who’s Who’s Guide to the Republican Review of the 2020 Wisconsin Presidential Election
Trump boos Pelosi visit to Taiwan, departure of party members
Many National Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz, D-Texas, and Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo supported the Democratic president’s recent visit to Taipei. Trump, meanwhile, blasted the move for provoking the Chinese government, which fired several missiles over the Taiwan Strait.
“What was she doing there?” Trump asked, saying he predicted Taiwan would be invaded after Ukraine. “How stupid that she left.”
The crowd beats the heat
Attendees withered in the late afternoon heat and many stayed put until 12 noon. But video calls from hopeful Arizona Governor Kari Lake and MyPillow executive Mike Lindell — along with an eclectic mix of songs from Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera — kept the energy going during the relatively stable outdoor gathering.
Trump’s arrival was delayed an hour and a half due to stormy weather in New York. But he said even “global warming won’t stop us from going” to Wisconsin.