Anyone who has spent significant time in Minnesota is familiar with the term “Minnesota Nice.” The friendliness demonstrated by Minnesotans is quite real. Depending on where you sat last week, you either saw Minnesota Nice at its best or the Minneapolis deplorables at their worst.
Trump’s campaign believes it has a chance to take Minnesota’s ten electoral votes in 2020. Trump won 80 of the 87 counties in the state in 2016, yet lost Minnesota by less than 44,000 votes (out of over 2.9 million cast). However, he lost Hennepin and Ramsey counties (Minneapolis and St. Paul, respectively) by 243,000 votes. Trump must narrow losses in the Twin Cities to win Minnesota in 2020.
Therefore, Trump’s first “Keep America Great” rally since the Democrats’ on-going impeachment efforts turned to the Ukraine came to Minneapolis. The rally was held downtown at the Target Center in the heart of the Congressional District represented by Ilhan Omar.
The day Trump’s Target Center rally was announced, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey made it clear that the president wasn’t welcome in the city. Frey acknowledged there was no legal way to prevent the Trump rally from taking place. Unable to stop the gathering, Frey and the DFL (Democrat Farm Labor Party) did everything possible to inconvenience the campaign.
In advance of the rally, Frey sent the Trump campaign a $530,000 security bill. In 2009, the then Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan told The Saint Paul Pioneer Press that security costs would top $20,000 for President Obama’s Target Center rally. The security bills for the two previous in-state Trump rallies averaged about $75,000. Frey was obviously playing games with the $530,000 security bill, and the campaign scoffed.
Simultaneously, the rules changed to prevent police officers from wearing their uniforms at political events unless they were on duty. Previously there had been no restrictions. In response, the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis sold red “Cops for Trump” t-shirts. Union President Bob Kroll announced that 5,000 had been sold. The red shirts had a noticeable presence inside the arena. Trump made it a point to voice his support for law enforcement officers. He also brought Kroll and off-duty Minneapolis police officers on stage.
The security bill and changing the police rules fueled a Twitter fight between Trump and Frey. Twitter is Trump’s standard operating procedure. I am not Donald Trump, and I did not win the White House. Still, I don't see the upside of elevating the Mayor of Minneapolis to the level of the President of the United States.
Inside an estimated 20,000 Trump fans packed the Target Center and demonstrated what "Minnesota Nice" means. For an hour and forty minutes, the atmosphere was as electric as election-day eve. The occasional protestor was ushered out quickly and without incident.
Trump's comments were a tour de force covering Mayor Frey, Ilhan Omar, Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, FBI agents Stzrok and Page, Nancy Pelosi, Congressional Democrats, impeachment, and the media — with shoutouts to virtually every Fox News host, and introducing Minnesota's Mike "My Pillow" Lindell. He defended his actions in the Middle East, Ukraine, and the economy. He talked about the wall and immigration, including legal immigration focusing on Somalians, a large number of whom have immigrated to Minnesota. Those comments created moments of discomfort for me — there is a distinction between legal and illegal immigrants.
Hillary Clinton dubbed Trump supporters “a basketful of deplorables.” I’m at a loss for words to describe roughly 1,000 protestors roaming the cold, rainy night outside of the Target Center. Antifa and Black Lives Matter had a noticeable presence. Signs with words I can’t use here were plentiful. Protesters gathered against the police lines waving middle-fingers, screaming obscenities, and throwing everything from urine-filled bottles to burning MAGA hats.
Over 20,000 additional Trump supporters who did not get in the Target Center were watching the rally on the big screens outside. Protesters reacted violently to Trump's speech and supporters. MAGA hats were frequently taken or knocked off supporters' heads. Several Trump fans were spat on. A Fox News reporter was pushed, shoved, and cursed at repeatedly. Ultimately, most of the supporters sought shelter in the skyways.
A series of skyways connect most downtown buildings in Minneapolis. It is possible to walk from one side of the city to the other without going outdoors via the skyways. They are necessary for a city that can go weeks without temperatures above zero, months below freezing, and mountains of snow piled up on corners.
The skyways are critical to the Trump rally because they are how most people leaving the Target Center rally exited. Had 20,000 amped-up Trump supporters emptied to the streets with nearly 1,000 equally hyped protesters, it might have gotten ugly.
I can’t think of a similar example when conservative protesters intruded violently into a liberal politician's event. Aren’t conservatives supposedly intolerant? If you saw what happened during and after Donald Trump’s rally in Minneapolis last Thursday, you would have no doubt that the Trump “resistance” composes the real deplorables.
Andy Bloom is president of Andy Bloom Communications. He specializes in media training and political communications. He is regarded as one of the leading radio programmers in the country. Andy served as communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner, R-Ohio. For more information, his website is www.andybloom.com. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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