On eve of Election Day, Trump holds his final-ever campaign event in Grand Rapids


Katherine Benedict

President Donald Trump speaks to his supporters at the Gerald R. Ford airport on Monday, Nov. 2.

President Donald Trump completed his re-election campaign in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in part because he was afraid picking another location might jinx his chances. Grand Rapids was where Trump held his final rally of 2016 before defeating Hillary Clinton the next day.

Late Monday night, Trump rallied near Gerald R. Ford airport, urging a large crowd of cheering supporters to give him four more years as president. “We can be a little superstitious, right?” the president asked the crowd, referring to his choice of location.

Face masks were not required for entry to the event, although they were offered at the entrance. While some attendees did wear masks, the majority of the crowd appeared to be maskless.

The president addressed many topics in a speech that lasted until 1:13 am on Election Day. He was introduced by Vice President Mike Pence, who spoke in Grand Rapids a few weeks earlier

Trump began his speech by touting his accomplishments for Michigan. He recalled his efforts to move car manufacturing plants back to the state: “Shinzo, Shinzo, you’ve got to do me a favor Shinzo,” said Trump, referring to what he had apparently told former Prime Minister Shinozo Abe of Japan. 

The president thanked his family for their support during the campaign, giving special praise to his son-in-law Jared Kushner for his efforts to negotiate peace deals in the Middle East. 

Trump then launched into attacks against his political opponents. He decried his impeachment trial earlier this year as “phony impeachment.” Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives but acquitted by the Senate. “Which makes me perhaps the most innocent man in the history of the United States,” declared Trump. 

The crowd was very warm to the president and he reciprocated the good feelings. “I love you too,” he declared at one point to his audience. 

Trump also talked about why he was the better choice for President than Democrat Joseph R. Biden. The president told the crowd that he would “protect your second amendment which is gone if sleepy Joe Biden wins.” Later, Trump contrasted his pre-presidency career with that of Biden. “Do you want to be represented by a career politician who actually doesn’t like you or by an outsider?” Trump asked.

Speaking about Senator Kamala Harris, the democratic nominee for Vice-President, Trump began by mocking her name. “Kah-maul-uh, you know I have to say it like that,” said Trump. He then wondered aloud about Biden’s selection of Harris for the ticket. “How the hell did he ever pick her?”

President Trump also took a shot at the four young Democratic representatives known as ‘The Squad.’ “Did they go to college by the way?” he asked, adding, “I don’t think they took a course in the environment.” 

Next, Trump turned his ire on ABC correspondent and 2016 Presidential debate moderator Martha Raddatz. “I had some real beauties, didn’t I?” he asked sarcastically, apparently referring to the debate moderators. He also said that Raddatz “was crying” because he won. 

Pivoting back to his policies, Trump declared that “Mexico is paying for the wall.” According to an AP Fact Check from February of 2020, this is not true. 

At two points during the night, Trump led the crowd in booing the press corps stationed at the rally. He claimed that CNN “owns” and “controls” Biden. There is no evidence to support this claim. 

Speaking about the coronavirus pandemic, Trump claimed that under a Biden presidency, things would get worse. “Joe Biden is promising to delay the vaccine and turn American into a prison state,” said Trump. There are no reports of Biden having any intention of delaying delivery or approval of a potential COVID-19 vaccine, although he has warned against rushing or politicizing the FDA approval process. 

Trump appeared very confident about the turnout his event drew. “This is not the crowd of somebody who’s going to lose the state of Michigan,” he said. 

Trump touted his first-term accomplishments, including the death of Qasem Soleimani, top Iranian general and designated terrorist, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in January. He also talked about the demise of ISIS, and death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. 

Additionally, Trump boasted about the strength of the United States nuclear weapons arsenal. “Our nuclear capabilities are in tippy-top shape. Pray to God we never have to use them,” he said. 

If re-elected, Trump said that he would hire more police officers and ban sanctuary cities. He pledged to continue to protect the right to life and free speech. Trump said that he would make lowering prescription drug prices a priority of his second term. Additionally, the president promised to send the first women to the moon and the first human to Mars. Trump also pledged to “restore patriotic education to our schools.” 

“I love Grand Rapids,” Trump declared in his closing remarks, adding “together we will take back our country…thank you Michigan; now go out and vote.”