President Donald Trump will headline a rally in Wisconsin later this month on the same night as the White House correspondents’ dinner, his campaign announced Tuesday.
The event at the Resch Center in Green Bay on Saturday, April 27 will mark the third straight year that President Trump has skipped the black-tie gala and held a Make America Great Again rally.
“President Trump looks forward to sharing the successes of his administration with the great people of Wisconsin,” Michael Glassner, chief operating officer of Trump’s campaign, said in a statement.
The campaign said the rally will mark Trump’s 18th in Wisconsin and his third in Green Bay since he began running for president in 2015.
President Trump, who frequently rails against the media, told reporters earlier this month that he was declining to attend the dinner because it is “boring” and “negative.”
In 2017, Trump became the first president to skip the dinner since Ronald Reagan in 1981. Reagan missed that year’s dinner because he was recovering from an assassination attempt – although he delivered remarks by phone.
Trump opted to hold a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, rather than attend the 2017 dinner. He skipped the dinner again last year and addressed supporters at a rally in Washington Township, Michigan.
Tuesday’s announcement came one day after President Trump held an economy-themed event in Minnesota, a state he hopes to pick up in 2020. Trump touted the effects of the 2017 tax cuts he championed, and what he called soaring jobs numbers. He claimed that the U.S. economy is at its best point ever, and ticked through Minnesota-specific statistics claiming tax cuts, income growth and “7,500 brand new mining, logging, and construction jobs” in the state.
“I want to tell you that a lot of progress has been made by our country in the last two and a half years,” Trump said at a roundtable discussion with small business owners and others gathered on the shop floor at a truck and heavy equipment company in Burnsville, about 15 miles outside Minneapolis.
“We’re already starting to think about our next election, and it’s moving along,” Trump said.
President Trump’s visit to a congressional district that flipped to Democrats in the 2018 midterm election highlighted shifting politics in the state that Trump thinks he can turn to his advantage in 2020.
Trump lost Minnesota to Hillary Clinton by only 1.5 points in 2016 and hopes to build a winning coalition of rural and suburban voters to take the state next year. Winning Minnesota could help offset a loss in Michigan or Wisconsin, both states he won in 2016 but that present a steep challenge now.
“This has been a very special state. It’s been a rare – a rare victory for Republicans,” Trump said. “And we almost won it. One more speech. One more speech.”
The event was planned before the latest controversy surrounding Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat representing a neighboring district. On Friday, President Trump had tweeted an edited video of the freshman Democrat, who is Muslim, in which images from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 were interspersed with remarks she made decrying discrimination against Muslims following the attacks.
Omar issued a statement Sunday evening on what she said are increased death threats against her following the president’s video.
“Violent crimes and other acts of hate by right-wing extremists and white nationalists are on the rise in this country and around the world. We can no longer ignore that they are being encouraged by the occupant of the highest office in the land,” Omar wrote. “We are all Americans. This is endangering lives. It has to stop.”
Trump did not mention Omar in his remarks, but he may have been making an indirect reference to her when he told the supportive crowd that “I think they’ve treated you very unfairly on immigration.”
“I think you’ve been treated extremely unfairly in the world of immigration,” Trump continued. “And a lot of things are going to change.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who is among Democrats running to challenge President Trump next year, held an event in the state on Sunday to accuse the president of failing to live up to his promises to Minnesotans, including on a national infrastructure improvement bill. She called that effort “a mirage.”
Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chairman Ken Martin said Monday that Trump “is trying to hide the real effect of his tax bill from the American people, just like he’s trying to hide his own tax returns.”
“The truth is, Donald Trump is a rich businessman using the presidency and his tax bill to make money for himself and his rich friends,” Martin said.
Although the White House-sponsored event was supposed to be about policy, not politics, Trump made several direct appeals to Minnesota voters.
“These things don’t happen by accident,” he said of economic gains under his presidency. “And it can all go away very quickly. You put the wrong people in office, everything that I’ve done and we’ve done as a group . . . can be undone, and bad, bad things can happen,” Trump said.