WAUKESHA – Former President Donald Trump appeared to bolster his pick for Wisconsin governor in Milwaukee’s Republican suburbs during a rally Friday, increasing pressure on a contested primaries it will be decided on Tuesday.
Here are five takeaways from the convention held at the Waukesha County Fairgrounds:
Tim Michels was fired
Gubernatorial hopeful Tim Michels gave one of his most energetic speeches to date, bolstered by Trump’s late-stage performance. The construction manager who came late in the race and shot up in the opinion polls hoping after Trump’s endorsement to capitalize on momentum, especially in the Milwaukee suburbs on Kleefisch’s home ground. Election integrity, Michels said, is his No. 1 priority.
“We want to stop Zuckerbucks, out of state billionaires coming into our state and taking control of our election process. It won’t happen anymore.” Michels was referring to grants to Wisconsin municipalities funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. Courts have upheld the private grants, most of which went to major cities where Democratic voters are concentrated.
Michels continued to hammer home his branding as the race’s outsider and denounced lobbyists’ influence in elections.
“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.”
Trump is hungry for another victory
The former president began his speech by boasting about the recent past high-profile primary victories for his approved candidates in Arizona and Michigan. With a somewhat mixed record on the strength of his recognition thus far, he is looking to seal the streak with a “massive” Michels win next Tuesday.
“Now you have to understand who Tim is … he builds massive tunnels, infrastructure, he drills through the ground, he drills through mountains,” Trump said. “He’s big time.”
Trump also has another chance for victory in Adam Steenhis newly endorsed candidate against state incumbent Robin Vos in Assembly District 63. Trump and his allies have increasingly agitated against Vos for not doing more to reveal Wisconsin’s 2020 election results. The crowd cheered loudly for Steen’s appeal to “throw Vos.” .
“We need to fire Robin Vos and replace him with Adam Steen,” Trump said. “A lot of people actually think (Vos is) a Democrat.”
Gableman prays for Trump, endorses Vos challenger
Former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman started the event by praying to God to protect Trump.
Gableman’s investigation the results of the 2020 presidential election have produced no evidence of fraud. He has repeatedly claimed that his investigation is non-partisan.
“Gentleman justice” that Vos recruited for the fraud investigation and Until recently approved paying Gableman $11,000 a month, also endorsed Steen Friday in an announcement from Trump. Gableman joins state representative Janel Brandtjen, who has also supported Steen, even though Vos previously chose her to chair the assembly’s election committee.
Trump boosts Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, a departure from members of his party
Many national Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz, D-Texas, and Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, supported the Democratic speaker’s recent visit to Taipei. Trump, meanwhile, blasted the move for provoking the Chinese government, which fired several missiles across the Taiwan Strait.
“What was she doing there?” Trump asked, saying he predicted Taiwan would be invaded next after Ukraine. “How stupid of her to go.”
The crowd beats the heat
Participants wilted in the late afternoon heat and many were on site for up to 12 hours. But video calls from Arizona gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell — plus an eclectic mix of songs from Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera — kept the energy at the outdoor rally relatively steady.
Trump’s arrival was delayed by 1.5 hours due to stormy weather in New York. But he said even “global warming won’t stop us from going” to Wisconsin.