President Trump stomped through Michigan on May 21 – not on the campaign trail, but to take to task the state’s lockdown and ferret out a plan to upend the ongoing, ad nauseum pandemic exploitation by Democratic officials. That the Great Lakes state is a key battleground with 16 juicy electoral college votes makes the “business” trip essential.
Trump positioned himself as an opponent prior to jetting to the upper peninsula with a threat to withhold federal funding because Michigan is pushing a vote-by-mail agenda. State officials believe ballot by mail is the only safe way for people to exercise their right to vote in the August primary and November general election. Trump blustered that the move is illegal and called the Michigan secretary of state a “rogue.”
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, warned the Trump entourage they were expected to don protective face masks, saying “We are just asking that President Trump comply with the law of our state, just as we would make the same request of anyone else in those plants.”
Everyone rushed to get the attention of national media at once, and Trump told reporters before boarding Air Force One, “we’re going to look at it.”
Nessel testily sniped if the president “fails to wear a mask, he’s going to be asked not to return to any unclosed facilities inside our state.”
The testy leadup didn’t incur physical injuries – it appears only feelings were hurt – but can you just imagine the mood on the jet?
Battleground is Underscored
Trump is a master at rallying folks in the heartland, and Michigan is no different. Despite its local blue majority, Trump swung the state in 2016 by promising to bring back blue-collar manufacturing jobs – a mission accomplished. But with the narrowest of victories, and the unknown COVID-19 fallout, Michigan’s electoral votes are seemingly up for grabs.
Polls are statistically showing a neck-and-neck race between presumptive nominee Joe Biden and the president. Some with Biden out front, others at a dead heat. But with the president making his third trip to Michigan in the last six months, most political strategists believe he must take the state to win the whole kit and kaboodle.
One Michigan GOP operative, Greg McNeilly, argued polling is particularly dicey for this go around due to the ongoing pandemic. He told the good folks at The Hill, “It’s like we’re living in dog years. It just feels like it’s going to be a completely different world in October.”
The Mood on the Ground
Trump’s itinerary included a stop at Ford’s Rawsonville manufacturing plant in Ypsilanti. The company stepped up and repurposed their production facility to manufacture ventilators and personal protective equipment. Ford and General Electric teamed up in April with the express goal of providing 50,000 ventilators in 100 days or less.
The president also met with African American leaders for a roundtable on COVID-19 to discuss the unconventional fight against the virus. The panel included CEO of Detroit Medical Center Audrey Gregory, PhD. She thanked the president for meeting with them and praised the administration for the immediate and personal response. Gregory also added a story of a phone call she received from the Trump COVID-19 team. She relayed that “once I determined it wasn’t a spam call,” she told the president the “rear Admiral” who had called and simply said, “what do you need,” followed through to make sure the state’s hospital system was getting exactly what they requested.
The event could not have gone any better for president.
“I think we are going to do very well in Michigan,” Trump had told reporters on the eve of the trip. And on this junket, he was right. Oh, and he didn’t wear a mask.
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.