Trump Allies Scramble to Defend His “Horrible” Comment About Milwaukee, RNC Host City

Trump Allies Scramble to Defend His Horrible Comment About Milwaukee, RNC Host City

In a meeting with House Republicans on Thursday, former President Donald Trump described Milwaukee, which will host the Republican National Convention in 2024, as a “horrible” city filled with crime.

The statements, originally reported by Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman and corroborated by NBC News, attracted anger from Democrats, as Trump’s defenders raced to justify them.

The Trump team denied calling the city “horrible,” claiming in a press release that the reports were a “total lie.” However, the campaign continued to infer that Trump talked disparagingly of the city.

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

Several Republican members denied making the statements during the meeting at the Capitol Hill Club. The gathering occurred just weeks before the Republican convention in Milwaukee, where the party is expected to officially select Trump as its presidential candidate.

Republican Rep. Bryan Steil of Wisconsin responded to a post on X that cited Trump’s claim that Milwaukee is a “horrible” city.

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

Instead of denying Trump’s comments, several congressional Republicans worked to explain and contextualize them. Rep. Derrick Van Orden of Wisconsin stated in a post on X that the former president was clearly alluding to the city’s crime statistics, while others claimed Trump was discussing election integrity.

Wisconsin is a critical battleground state Donald Trump almost lost to President Joe Biden in 2020.

While Milwaukee, the state’s largest city, has openly embraced the possibility to host the RNC, the city’s Democratic leadership has a strained relationship with the Republican Party. CNBC reported on June 6 that Milwaukee-based department store Kohl’s will not sponsor any Republican convention events.

Democrats were ready to capitalize on Trump’s comments.

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

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

According to Garren Randolph, Wisconsin Democratic coordinating campaign manager, “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 stated. “We’ll see that at the RNC — and then again in November, when Wisconsinites send Donald Trump packing.”

It’s unclear whether Trump will be in Milwaukee to accept his nomination at the convention.

In May, the former president was found guilty of 34 charges of falsifying corporate documents, and his sentence date is set for July 11, the day before the Republican convention begins.

In response to Trump’s remarks on Thursday, some Democrats brought up his felony history.

“Milwaukee makes the greatest beer, brats, and motorcycles in the world,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, wrote on X. “It is home to some of our most dynamic communities and toughest workers, and it contributes to Wisconsin’s ranking as the best state in the country. Even if a jury said so, Donald Trump would not understand.

Rep. Gwen Moore, a Democrat representing Wisconsin’s 4th Congressional District, which encompasses Milwaukee, also mentioned his conviction in her statement reported

“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 an article for X.

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