Trump at Minnesota rally: Biden will turn state into a ‘refugee camp’

President Donald Trump said his Democratic rival Joe Biden would “turn Minnesota into a refugee camp” and bragged about deporting Somali nationals, sharpening his play for the battleground state during a Friday rally.

“I’m your wall between the American dream and chaos,” Trump said.

Speaking in Bemidji, Minn., Trump repeated claims that Biden would dramatically increase the number of refugees in the country. He lauded the deportation of a number of Somali nationals, speaking in a state with one of the largest ethnic Somali populations in the country.

“These hardened criminals are back in their country where they can do all the complaining they want,” Trump said. “And your families are safer for it.”
The Trump administration has made stonewalling admissions for refugees a cornerstone of its immigration policy.

Seeking to draw a contrast with Biden, Trump said the Democratic nominee would open the doors for refugees from “jihadist regions” like Yemen and Somalia. He also derided Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who came to the United States as a child refugee from Somalia, calling her an “extremist.”

Trump last year called for Omar and a number of other high-profile progressive congresswomen to “go back” to “the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Supporters also chanted “send her back” during a Trump rally last year — a line that has become a rallying cry among his base.

“Omar, how the hell did she win the election,” Trump said Friday.

Trump also directly echoed his law-and-order message in the town a couple of hours to the north of Minneapolis, which was a nexus of protests early this summer after George Floyd was killed by a white police officer. Trump has since derided the protests as violent uprisings, urging federal forces to restore order.

“They’re still trying to get rid of your police force in Minneapolis?” Trump said to a jeering crowd. “See they never learn.”

Trump has rebranded his rallies as “peaceful protests”, mocking municipalities that have allowed protesters to gather in spite of social distancing requirements and crowd-size limits due to the coronavirus pandemic. During his Friday talk, attendees were closely packed together, many not wearing masks.

Conspicuously absent from his address was any mention of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose death was announced during his rally. Trump bragged during the speech that he didn’t look at the teleprompter when speaking at rallies, and no aides interrupted him on stage.

Just before boarding Air Force One after his rally, Trump said: “She just died? I didn’t know that. She led an amazing life, what else can you say?”

Recent polling has shown Biden pulling ahead in Minnesota, but Trump said Friday that what he’s read about the area made him confident he was in good standing.

“There’s no way that I’m nine points down,” Trump said. “This is not the crowd of somebody’s who’s going to finish second in this state to sleepy Joe.”

Trump’s appearance comes on the heels of Biden’s own trip to the battleground state. The former vice president toured a training center in a suburb of Duluth and uncorked a speech aimed at union members and blue-collar workers in the state.

“Like a lot of you, I spent a lot of my life with guys like Donald Trump looking down on me; looking down on people who make a living with their hands, people who take care of our kids [or] clean our streets,” Biden said. “These are the guys who always thought they were better than me, better than us, because they had a lot of money.”

Biden also picked up on the “Scranton vs. Park Avenue” theme his campaign has raised in recent days, including at a televised town hall Thursday near the former vice president’s birthplace in Pennsylvania. Biden again tore into comments Trump made earlier this week to journalist George Stephanopoulos that “stocks are owned by everybody” as part of a defense of his stewardship of the economy during the pandemic.

“What the hell’s he talking about?” Biden said. “People I grew up with in Scranton, Claymont, [Del.], they don’t have money in stocks. Every penny we made was to pay the bills and take care of the families, put clothes on the back and a roof overhead.”

Shortly before taking the lectern at his Bemidji rally, Trump mocked Biden’s “Scranton vs. Park Avenue” line, repeating his common attack as Biden an internationalist who will bend to China’s will.

“Joe Biden says this is a race between Scranton and Park Avenue,” Trump tweeted. “This is a race between Scranton and China. Joe Biden betrayed Scranton, and America, to China and foreign countries. I will always put America First!”

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