Trump tries fear tac­tics to win over Mid­west

Toronto Star - - WORLD - BRIAN SLODYSKO AND JILL COLVIN

MUSKEGON, MICH.— U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump leaned into fear tac­tics Satur­day as he ac­cused the left of try­ing to “erase Amer­i­can his­tory, purge Amer­i­can val­ues and de­stroy the Amer­i­can way of life” in a late re-elec­tion pitch to vot­ers in Michi­gan.

“The Demo­crat Party you once knew doesn’t ex­ist,” Trump told vot­ers in Muskegon, Mich., ahead of a rally in Wis­con­sin — two states in the Up­per Mid­west that were in­stru­men­tal to his 2016 vic­tory, but may now be slip­ping from his grasp.

As he tried to keep more vot­ers from turning against him, Trump sought to paint Democrats as “anti-Amer­i­can rad­i­cals” on a “cru­sade against Amer­i­can his­tory.” He told mod­er­ate vot­ers they had a “a moral duty” to join the Re­pub­li­can Party.

He also re­vis­ited his month­s­long feud with Michi­gan Gov. Gretchen Whit­mer.

Whit­mer, a Demo­crat, was the fo­cus of a kid­nap­ping plot by anti-govern­ment ex­trem­ists who were an­gered by lock­down mea­sures she put in place as a re­sult of the coro­n­avirus.

Thir­teen men have been charged in con­nec­tion with the scheme, which in­cluded plans to storm the state capi­tol and to hold some kind of trial for the gover­nor.

It’s a theme Trump leaned into, while the crowd chanted “Lock her up.”

“You got to get your gover­nor to open your state and get your schools open. The schools have to be open, right?” said Trump, who also took credit for fed­eral law en­force­ment’s role in foil­ing the plot.

Trump’s re-elec­tion pitch comes as he faces head­winds not only in na­tional polling, which shows Demo­crat Joe Bi­den lead­ing, but also in key bat­tle­ground sur­veys.

And it comes af­ter the cam­paign largely re­treated from TV ad­ver­tis­ing in the Mid­west, shift­ing much of its money to Sun Belt states such as Florida, North Carolina, Ari­zona and Ge­or­gia, as well as Penn­syl­va­nia.

The pres­i­dent con­tin­ues to be dogged by his han­dling of the coro­n­avirus, which hos­pi­tal­ized him for sev­eral days ear­lier this month.

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