Trump calls Milwaukee a ‘horrible’ city ahead of Republican convention

by Pelican Press
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Trump calls Milwaukee a ‘horrible’ city ahead of Republican convention

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks to the media following meetings with Republicans on Capitol Hill, at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters in Washington, June 13, 2024.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

In a meeting with House Republicans on Thursday, former President Donald Trump called Milwaukee — the host of the 2024 Republican National Convention — a “horrible” city and said it is overrun by crime.

The comments, which were first reported by Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman and confirmed by NBC News, drew criticism from Democrats, while Trump’s allies scrambled to defend his remarks.

The Trump campaign denied that he called the city “horrible,” writing in a press release that the reports are a “total lie.” Yet, the campaign still seemed to imply that Trump spoke disparagingly of the city.

“President Trump was explicitly referring to the problems in Milwaukee, specifically violent crime and voter fraud,” the campaign said in its statement.

Several Republican lawmakers also denied he made the comments in the meeting, held at the Capitol Hill Club. The event came just weeks ahead of the Republican convention in Milwaukee, where the party is set to officially nominate Trump as its presidential candidate.

Republican Rep. Bryan Steil, of Wisconsin, replied to a post on X that reported Trump’s comment that Milwaukee is a “horrible” city.

“I was in the room. President Trump did not say this,” Steil said. “There is no better place than Wisconsin in July.”

Other congressional Republicans sought to explain and contextualize Trump’s comments, rather than deny them. Rep. Derrick Van Orden, of Wisconsin, wrote in a post on X that the former president was specifically referring to the city’s crime rate, while others reportedly said Trump was speaking about election integrity.

Wisconsin is a key battleground state that Trump narrowly lost to President Joe Biden in 2020.

While Milwaukee, its largest city, has publicly welcomed the opportunity to host the RNC, the Democrat-led city has a shaky relationship with the Republican Party. CNBC reported June 6 that Milwaukee-based department store Kohl’s will not sponsor any events related to the Republican convention.

Democrats were quick to capitalize on Trump’s remarks.

In an apparent response, Biden on X posted a photo from the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2021 visit to the White House with the caption, “I happen to love Milwaukee.”

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, a Democrat, said, “If Donald Trump wants to talk about things that he thinks are horrible, all of us lived through his presidency, so, right back at you, buddy.”

Garren Randolph, Wisconsin Democratic coordinated campaign manager, said in a statement, “If Donald Trump thinks Milwaukee is so horrible, then he shouldn’t come to our city.”

“Voters in Milwaukee are fed up with Donald Trump and extreme MAGA Republicans not caring about them,” Randolph added. “We’ll see that at the RNC — and then again in November, when Wisconsinites send Donald Trump packing.”

A sign promoting Milwaukee as the 2024 host of the Republican National Convention at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

It is unknown whether Trump will be in Milwaukee to accept his nomination at the convention.

The former president in May was found guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records, and his sentencing is set for July 11 — the day before the Republican convention is set to begin.

Some Democrats referenced Trump’s criminal conviction in their responses to his remarks Thursday.

“Milwaukee makes the greatest beer, brats, and motorcycles in the world,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., said in a post on X. “It’s home to some of our most vibrant communities, hardest workers, and is a part of what makes Wisconsin the best state in the nation. Donald Trump wouldn’t understand even if a jury told him so.”

Rep. Gwen Moore, a Democrat who represents Wisconsin’s 4th Congressional District, which includes Milwaukee, also referenced his conviction in her response.

“Once he’s settled in with his parole officer, I am certain he will discover that Milwaukee is a wonderful, vibrant and welcoming city full of diverse neighborhoods and a thriving business community,” Moore wrote in a post on X.

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