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American dream 'not going to happen' with Democrats, Trump Jr. tells Macomb crowd


Christine Ferretti   | The Detroit News

Harrison Township — Donald Trump Jr. came out swinging against his father's Democratic opponent for president and “the radical left” during a packed and lively rally Monday at a Macomb County boat club.

“It’s time for you to start living your American dream again and that’s not going to happen under the radical Democrats,” Trump said from a barge along the Clinton River. "Just remember, this isn't your grandparents' Democratic Party. This party doesn't represent working class Americans anymore. It doesn’t even represent decent Americans anymore.”

Trump was joined on stage Monday, after a 15-minute speech, by Kid Rock, who urged the crowd to make sure they are registered to vote.

Trump argued during the “Make America Great Again” rally that Democrat Joseph Biden Jr. has "failed to keep promises" in his long political career in Washington and that Trump “needs your help” on Nov. 3 for another four years in office.

The Trump campaign visit to Michigan is part of a multi-state schedule this week to promote Republican President Donald Trump's agenda amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Monday's event also featured Kimberly Guilfoyle, chair of the president's victory campaign and Trump Jr.'s girlfriend.

Scores of spectators draped in Trump 2020 flags, wearing red "Make American Great Again" baseball caps and beaded necklaces lined the streets near the venue and gathered in and around the marina near Bumpers Landing Boat Club, awaiting the evening's event. Flags and massive campaign signs were staked along North River Road and cars, including the mobile Trump Unity Bridge, jammed parking lots for blocks in hopes of catching a glimpse. 

The gathering comes after Biden and Trump each held campaign-related rallies in the state last week.

The event also comes as Michigan limit outdoor public gatherings to 100 people to stem the spread of COVID-19. There are exemptions for First Amendment-protected events.

As of Monday, the total number of confirmed cases of the virus in Michigan was 112,612 and the death toll was 6,601.

Jay Marx of Clinton Township said the rally was all about “pro-American energy.”

“It’s everyone coming together as one, unity,” said Marx, a 27-year-old a security officer for Ford Motor Co.

Trump has faced opposition, including from the media, Marx said, but “he’s still here and fighting.”

“He’s a humble guy,” he said.

Marx said he’s not a fan of Biden and doesn’t support much of what he stands for.   

“I’m always listen to both sides,” he said. “But everything I’ve heard from him I don’t support.”

Michael Larsen, also of Clinton Township, said he got Trump Jr.'s message: get out and vote.

“It’s good versus evil right now,” said Larson, 37, a food industry worker and supporter of the president. “We all know what Trump has put out there and promised and done. Hopefully, we can keep on pushing.”

Jeff Brown docked his 42-foot house boat not far from the barge where the campaign event was held with about a dozen friends and relatives. The 70-year-old Farmington Hills resident said Trump Jr. and Rock "represent the real American, blue-collar people."

Brown said he donates to Trump's campaign monthly and has displayed a Trump and American flag in his front yard for the past four years. 

"He stands up for our country. He changed the NAFTA agreement. He's completely for America only," said Brown, who called Biden "weak."

"I don't think he's capable of running any kind of business, period, let alone our government," he said of Biden. "He's going to be a puppet for the socialism group."

Supporters began to funnel in close together around 5:30 p.m.; most weren't wearing protective face masks. 

Eileen Tesch of Algonac donned a bright orange jacket and hat, and held a drink as she described her excitement about changing "all our plans" to come out to attend the Monday night rally. She took part in 2016 rallies for Trump, but this was her first in this election cycle. 

"I'm very pro-life," said Tesch, 61. "He's a very wise man and I'm praying for him every day."

The Michigan Democratic Party on Monday released a statement on behalf of Democratic U.S. Rep. Andy Levin arguing that Trump has "failed Macomb County."

"Don Junior can have all the boat rallies he wants, but Macomb County voters know his dad has failed us," Levin said in a statement, noting the loss of tens of thousands of jobs as the result of manufacturing plant closures in Michigan. 

"Macomb County does not need empty tough talk, we need real leadership in the White House to contain COVID-19 and rebuild Michigan’s economy. Through their plan to Build Back Better, making critical investments in green infrastructure and creating one million auto jobs with the freedom to join a union, I’m confident Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the right choice to do just that.” 

Rock posted on Instagram ahead of the Monday night appearance alongside Trump Jr. that he has a documentary, new music and tour in the works. 

The musician also voiced his support for Trump in the election, noting he couldn't "care less about the continuous attacks from the left-wing media."

Guilfoyle at the opening of Monday’s rally said Trump "wants to honor American workers" and keep them here, “not send them to China.”

“We finally have a fighter in the White House,” she said. “He didn't need this job ... he decided to get involved. He decided to put it all on the line."

Trump on Thursday made his first campaign stop in Michigan since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

"No president has done for Michigan what President Trump has done for Michigan,” the president told the crowd in Saginaw County.

Trump has publicly clashed with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in the last six months over her handling of the virus. On Thursday night, he reiterated his call for Whitmer to "open up your state," labeling her a "liberal hypocrite" since her husband sought to get his boat launched during the pandemic in May. Whitmer has said the request was a failed attempt at humor.

The president won Michigan by 10,704 votes in 2016 against Democrat Hillary Clinton, and is hoping for a repeat in the battleground state in November.

Trade policy promises are a key issue in the fall campaign, and it was a focus of Trump's speech.

In January, he signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement. Under the new deal, automakers will have to produce cars with 75% of parts originating from the U.S., Canada or Mexico to qualify for duty-free treatment, up from NAFTA's 62.5% level.

Biden, who addressed the public Wednesday from the parking lot of the United Auto Workers Region 1 headquarters in Warren, detailed plans to financially penalize companies that move jobs overseas and provide a tax credit for those who invest within the country's borders. Biden told a group of union workers in Detroit that Trump was allowing the country to go to "Hell in a handbasket economically."

"We’re not doing a thing about it," Biden said last week of Trump's administration.

Trump Jr. said Biden has been making promises for half a century in Washington D.C.

“If Joe Biden could have fixed it by now, he would have,” he said. “Why would you wait half a century to get going, Joe? He’s very sleepy.”

Biden led the Republican incumbent 47% to 42% in a poll of 600 likely Michigan voters released by The Detroit News and WDIV on Tuesday. The poll had a margin of error of plus-minus 4 percentage points.

cferretti@detroitnews.com