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Trump Heats Up Culture War in Wisconsin09/18 06:13

   President Donald Trump stepped up his rhetoric on cultural issues, aiming to 
boost enthusiasm among rural Wisconsin voters as he tries to repeat his path to 
victory four years ago.

   MOSINEE, Wis. (AP) -- President Donald Trump stepped up his rhetoric on 
cultural issues, aiming to boost enthusiasm among rural Wisconsin voters as he 
tries to repeat his path to victory four years ago.

   Making his fifth visit to the pivotal battleground state this year, Trump 
views success in the state's less-populated counties as critical to another 
term. He held a rally Thursday evening in Mosinee, in central Wisconsin, an 
area of the state that shifted dramatically toward Republicans in 2016, 
enabling Trump to overcome even greater deficits in urban and suburban parts of 
the state.

   Trump has increasingly used his public appearances to elevate cultural 
issues important to his generally whiter and older base, as he hinges his 
campaign on turning out his core supporters rather than focusing on winning 
over a narrow slice of undecided voters. In Mosinee, he called for a statute to 
ban burning the American flag in protest --- a freedom protected by the Supreme 
Court --- and criticized sports players and leagues for allowing demonstrations 
against racial inequality.

   "We have enough politics, right," he said, joking that sometimes, "I can't 
watch me." He added of protests in sports, "People don't want to see it and the 
ratings are down."

   Earlier Thursday, in a speech at the National Archives to commemorate 
Constitution Day, he derided The New York Times' "1619 Project," which aimed to 
recognize the often overlooked consequences of slavery and the contributions of 
Black Americans.

   "For many years now, the radicals have mistaken Americans' silence for 
weakness. But they are wrong," Trump said. "There is no more powerful force 
than a parent's love for their children --- and patriotic moms and dads are 
going to demand that their children are no longer fed hateful lies about this 
country."

   Trump told supporters in Wisconsin: "We're launching a new pro-American 
lesson plan for students called 1776 Commission. We're going to teach our 
children the truth about America."

   Trump's last visit to Wisconsin came on Sept. 1, when he met with law 
enforcement and toured damage from protests in Kenosha that turned violent 
after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man hit seven times in the 
back during an attempted arrest. Trump has sought to use the unrest after the 
August shooting of Blake and the May police killing of George Floyd in 
Minneapolis to tout a "law and order" message and paint an apocalyptic vision 
of violence if Democrat Joe Biden wins on Nov. 3.

   "I saved the suburbs," Trump said Thursday of his call for federal law 
enforcement and national guard troops to confront protesters. He added that 
police "did a great job in Kenosha."

   Trump also previewed aid to the region's farmers, saying $13 billion would 
begin flowing "starting next week" to help farmers. He provided no details.

   Trump took another victory lap two days after he presided over Bahrain and 
the United Arab Emirates recognizing Israel in a White House ceremony.

   "I got nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize. That's a big deal," Trump 
said, adding, "I should've gotten nominated seven times." His supporters 
chanted "Nobel Peace Prize" in response.

   Trump won Marathon County, which includes Mosinee, by more than 12,000 votes 
in 2016 --- over three times more than the margin by which 2012 GOP nominee 
Mitt Romney won the area. Trump's team is wagering the 2020 contest on a 
similar performance in the county and the dozens of others like it across 
battleground states.

   Trump's path to 270 Electoral College votes may well hinge on Wisconsin, and 
his campaign is investing tens of millions of dollars on advertising and 
get-out-the-vote efforts in the state.

   Trump's event took place largely outside an aircraft hangar at the Mosinee 
airport, his campaign's preferred format for mass rallies during the 
coronavirus pandemic, though Trump has been willing to host large events 
indoors as well, sometimes in violation of state and federal distancing 
guidelines.

   Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin was set to join Trump on Air Force 
One but ended up under quarantine Thursday after learning he was exposed to 
someone earlier in the week who subsequently tested positive for the virus. 
Johnson tested negative on Wednesday night, his office said.

 
 
 
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