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Donald Trump talks inflation, Iron Dome, Biden and bacon at Minn dinner. GOP

Donald Trump talks inflation, Iron Dome, Biden and bacon at Minn dinner.  GOP


Former President Donald Trump headlined the state Republican Party's annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner Friday in St. Paul, repeatedly ripping into President Joe Biden, vowing to fight to turn Minnesota red and return to one-day voting and paper ballots.

“We want a landslide in your state and we want a landslide in our country that is too big to fake,” Trump said during his 80-minute speech in St. Paul. He listed a long list of things he would do in a second term, such as building an Iron Dome missile defense system over the country, “much of it being built in a place called Minnesota.” .

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee has repeatedly mocked Biden not only for his policies, but also for the way he walks and talks. “I'm going to save Minnesota from all the devastation, and we're going to save the Iron Range again,” Trump said, adding that he wanted Biden to be drug tested before their televised debates.

Trump bemoaned inflation, electric vehicles and anything made in China, and called Biden “the worst president in the history of the country.”

Trump criticized Minnesota's mail-in and early voting processes, saying it “gives them more time to cheat.” There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Minnesota.

The crowd erupted in the evening's loudest applause and a standing ovation when Trump said he would defund any school teaching critical race theory as well as any school with a vaccination mandate.

“I will keep men out of women’s sports,” he said several times.

Trump questioned why Biden was competing with him. “There's only one way for this to happen: They're cheating,” he said, again without giving any proof. Republicans must “protect the vote.” They will do anything. They have no shame,” he said.

The former president even complained that his teleprompter at RiverCentre fell before he began speaking, and then he shook the podium.

“Who set this scene up? This damn place is falling apart,” Trump said. “I noticed it keeps leaning to the left, like too many other things. What a shitty entrepreneur he was.”

He jumped between topics in an unstructured speech with a constant stream of criticism of Biden. “We are a nation that has lost confidence, will and strength,” he said.

He claimed that Biden was “apparently planning to bring in massive numbers of Gazans from the Middle East and resettle them in our communities.”

The crowd responded by booing, and Trump said, “I'm surprised by Minnesota. I thought you were a very liberal place.” The crowd responded “Nooooo”.

“You’ve had enough, haven’t you?” Trump responded.

The crowd rose to its feet as he concluded by saying that the forgotten peoples would be forgotten no more and pledged to make America strong, proud, secure and free again. The crowd joined in as he ended with, “And we will make America great again.”

Before Trump spoke, U.S. Reps. Tom Emmer, Michelle Fischbach and Pete Stauber excited the crowd about the prospect of big Republican gains in November.

More than 1,000 donors reportedly paid at least $500 per plate and up to $100,000 for a premier table with VIP treatment and photos with Trump. Attire ranged from buffalo check shirtsleeves and caps for the men to casual summer dresses and sparkling evening wear for the women.

Emmer, the House minority whip, thanked Trump, saying he had helped the party get out of debt for the first time in more than a decade.

Emmer called out Minnesota Democratic U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar: “By the way, Ilhan, if you're listening, you should support the country that's been so good to you.”

He said that if Omar is not happy here, she should move somewhere else. “And by the way, don’t get hit by the door on the way out,” Emmer said.

He noted that his campaign would donate $100,000 to the state GOP.

Attendees dined on the usual conference fare: pre-made green salads, chicken under white sauce, green beans and slices of cheesecake.

High-ranking DFL members preemptively criticized the former president during a news conference at the state Capitol.

“On one side, you have Joe Biden and Kamala Harris fighting for Minnesota families and for the hard-earned progress we've made,” said U.S. Sen. Tina Smith. “And on the other hand, you have Donald Trump, who is fighting for himself.”

Gov. Tim Walz criticized Trump for falsely claiming he won Minnesota in 2020. “It's such an outrageous statement; it's such an attack on the very fundamentals of our democracy. He lost by more than seven points,” Walz said. “And so he can shout that he thinks he has a chance, I remind people that Joe Biden came closer in Texas than Donald Trump did in Minnesota.”

The dinner capped the first day of the State Republican Convention. Throughout the day, protesters roamed the streets around the giant RiverCentre. The DFL-aligned political fund Alliance for a Better Minnesota set up a mobile billboard that read: “Donald Trump and Minnesota Republicans want to ban abortion.”

In the evening, a few hundred anti-Trump protesters gathered outside to chant and express their dislike for the former president and his policies on abortion and immigrant rights.

“I just think he's a despicable human being, even if he wasn't a politician,” said Chuck Justice of Woodbury.

Around thirty pro-Trump demonstrators also gathered and said they were delighted with this visit. Waving a Trump 2024 flag, Doug Kern of Brainerd said he believes the former president will improve the country as a whole.

“We are on a fat slide going downhill and it has to stop,” Kern said.

Staff writers Ryan Faircloth and Louis Krauss contributed to this report.

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