Trump predicts ‘red wave’ at mid-west rallies as polls show Biden ahead.

US president Donald Trump predicted “a red wave like you’ve never seen before,” as he held campaign rallies in the key mid-west states of Michigan and Wisconsin on Saturday night.

Wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, Mr Trump said that Republicans are “leading” in the state of Michigan, despite polls showing the president’s Democratic rival Joe Biden ahead.

“We are having these crowds, in all fairness, all over the country… the spirit is so incredible, the enthusiasm,” he said at the event in Muskegon Michigan, prompting chants of “We love Trump!”

Mr Trump also referenced Michigan’s governor Gretchen Whitmer who was the target of a foiled kidnap plot the FBI revealed earlier this month, leading to shouts of “Lock her up! Lock her up!” from the crowd. “You’ve got to get your governor to open up your state… and get your schools open,” he said.

Responding to the scenes at the Trump rally in the west of the state, the Democratic governor blasted the president, stating that this is “exactly the rhetoric that has put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger while we try to save the lives of our fellow Americans.”

Mr Trump won the state of Michigan by just 10,000 votes in 2016 and is hoping to turn the state red again in November’s election which takes place in just over two weeks’ time.

Spike in cases

Following the event in Michigan, he travelled on to Wisconsin, holding an election rally despite a spike in coronavirus numbers in recent weeks.

As was the case at the Michigan event, mask-wearing among attendees was sporadic.

The United States recorded 70,000 new Covid-19 cases on Friday – the highest figure since July – as infection rates around the country, particularly in the mid-west, rose.

The rally took place in Janesville in Rock County, where Mr Trump had been due to campaign early this month but was forced to cancel because he contracted Covid-19. The county has also seen some of the steepest rise in numbers in Wisconsin in recent weeks, but the president called on the governor to open up the state.

As he addressed supporters at the event on Saturday night, Mr Trump again claimed he was ahead in the state he narrowly won in 2016. Along with his victory in Michigan and Pennsylvania, Mr Trump’s success in Wisconsin four years ago helped deliver him the White House. But polls currently show him trailing Mr Biden. “I look at a poll. We’re even in Wisconsin. I don’t think so,” he told the crowd who gathered in Southern Wisconsin regional airport to hear him.

“Joe Biden,” he said, “is and always has been, a corrupt politician. The Biden family is a criminal enterprise.”

‘Maybe I’ll have to leave the country’

He also told supporters that his decision to serve as president cost him “two, three, maybe more billion dollars” claiming he would have had “hotels being built in every city in every country in the world,” if he wasn’t president.

It follows his suggestion that he could leave the country if he loses in November, a comment he made at a campaign rally in Georgia on Friday night. “Could you imagine if I lose?” he said. “I’m not going to feel so good. Maybe I’ll have to leave the country, I don’t know.”

The back-to-back events in Michigan and Wisconsin on Saturday evening are two of several rallies he is due to hold in the coming days. He will campaign in Nevada later today, and Arizona on Monday.

The president’s heavy schedule comes two weeks after he was hospitalised for Covid-19, and in breach of official guidance advising against large-scale gatherings as America continues to battle rising covid infection rates. Meanwhile, Mr Biden, who held no campaign events yesterday, will travel to North Carolina on Sunday, while vice president Kamala Harris will return to the campaign trail on Monday in Florida, after she cancelled in-person events after two aides tested positive for coronavirus. In a message on Saturday, Mr Biden’s campaign manager Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, warned supporters that a victory on November 3rd was not guaranteed. “This race is going to be incredibly close in the battleground states,” she said. “We’re not taking a single vote for granted.”

The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

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