WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump leaned into fear tactics Saturday as he accused the left of trying to "destroy the American way of life" in a late reelection pitch to voters in Michigan and Wisconsin — two Midwestern states that were instrumental to his 2016 victory but may now be slipping from his grasp.
In back-to-back rallies, Trump accused the left of wanting to “erase American history" and “purge American values.” He claimed, with no basis, that Democratic rival Joe Biden would put communities at risk.
Trump offered the dark message as he faces headwinds not only in national polling, which shows Biden leading, but also in key battleground surveys. His comments come after his campaign, with far less cash than Biden's, 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.
As he tries to energize his base and keep on-the-fence voters from turning against him, Trump sought to paint Democrats as “anti-American radicals” and said moderates had “a moral duty” to join the Republican Party.
“The Democrat Party you once knew doesn’t exist,” he said.
It was the same on issue after issue, as he claimed in hyperbolic terms that Biden's election would spur “the single biggest depression in the history of our country” and “turn Michigan into a refugee camp."
Addressing the coronavirus crisis, Trump warned that Biden would “shut down the country, delay the vaccine and prolong the pandemic.” Public health experts say the nation would be in far better shape had Trump's administration taken more aggressive action early on.
And while he repeatedly predicted victory, Trump seemed to grapple throughout the day with the prospect that he could indeed lose in November.