‘I love Milwaukee’: Trump backtracks on ‘horrible city’ comments ahead of Republican convention

‘I said you got to fix the crime,’ Trump says as he attempts to remedy relationship to Milwaukee following ‘horrible city’ comments

Gustaf Kilander
Washington DC
Wednesday 19 June 2024 15:56 BST
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‘I love Milwaukee’: Trump backtracks on ‘horrible city’ comments

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Former President Donald Trump tired to walk back claims he thinks Milwaukee is a “horrible city” - even as he took a shot at the area’s crime rate as he spoke in Racine about 30 miles south of the Wisconsin city.

Trump held a rally in Racine, Wisconsin, Tuesday and immediately turned his attention to the crime rate in Milwaukee as he responded to the assertion that he didn’t back the choice of the city as the site for the Republican National Convention set for mid-July.

“I love Milwaukee. I was the one that picked Milwaukee I have to tell you,” Trump said on Tuesday afternoon. “These lying people that they say ‘oh he doesn’t like Milwaukee’ – I love Milwaukee.”

“I said you got to fix the crime,” he added. “You’ve got to make sure the elections are honest, but I’m the one that picked Milwaukee.”

Trump’s comments come after he reportedly called Wisconsin’s biggest population center a “horrible city” during a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill last week, initially reported by Punchbowl.

Republicans have tried to downplay his comments, as did Trump himself on Tuesday, seemingly worried about the impact of his words about the city.

Trump also addressed the “horrible city” reports on Truth Social: “The Democrats are making up stories that I said Milwaukee is a ‘horrible city’. This is false, a complete lie.”

He added: “It’s called disinformation, and that’s all they know how to do. I picked Milwaukee, I know it well. It should therefore lead to my winning Wisconsin. But the Dems come out with this fake story, just like all of the others. It never ends. Don’t be duped. Who would say such a thing with that important state in the balance?”

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump leaves a rally at Festival Park on June 18, 2024 in Racine, Wisconsin. During the event he said he “loves” Milwaukee after previousl bashing the city.
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump leaves a rally at Festival Park on June 18, 2024 in Racine, Wisconsin. During the event he said he “loves” Milwaukee after previousl bashing the city. (Getty Images)

But in an interview with Fox 6 News, Trump appeared to admit making the statement.

“I think it was very clear what I meant. We’re very concerned with crime. I love Milwaukee,” he told the TV station. “But as you know the crime numbers are terrible, and we have to be very careful. But, I was referring to, also, the election.”

Biden won Wisconsin by about 21,000 votes in 2020 after Trump won the state by a slightly larger margin in 2016. It’s a vital swing state both the Democrats and Republicans will be desperate to win in November.

Trump leads in Wisconsin by 0.2 percent in Wisconsin in FiveThirtyEight’s polling average, 41.4 percent to Biden’s 41.2 percent. Independent Robert F Kennedy Jr receives 8.2 percent in the state.

The former president didn’t intend to stay in Wisconsin during the convention until news outlets inquired with the campaign. Initially, Trump was planning on staying in his own hotel in Chicago, 90 miles away, according to The New York Times. Trump now avoids a possible slight to the city he called “horrible” last week.

On Tuesday, Trump also claimed he “saved Kenosha,” a community south of Racine that saw widespread racial justice protests during his presidency. It was the site of a shooting by then-17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who fatally shot two men. He faced multiple charges, including homicide, but was acquitted after claiming self-defense. He has since become a right-wing media personality.

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