WAUKESHA -- GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump declared Wednesday he is going to win Wisconsin, made a pitch to minority voters and took a series of shots at Dem nominee Hillary Clinton.
Trump praised Tommy Thompson, who was among those who introduced him, and recounted a conversation earlier this year in which the former governor told Trump he would have trouble winning Wisconsin and should focus elsewhere. But he said Thompson told him he would call if the situation changed.
"I get a call two weeks ago: 'Don, time to come back'" Trump said. "I'm back, and we're going to win Wisconsin."
No Republican has won Wisconsin’s electoral votes since Ronald Reagan in 1984, and polls of state voters have consistently shown Clinton ahead. Still, the last Marquette University Law School Poll, conducted in mid-September, showed Clinton’s edge among likely voters down to 2 points in a head-to-head match up with Trump. It was 3 points in a four-way race.
Trump, making his first stop in the state since Aug. 5, said Clinton has been "a disaster" for African Americans and Hispanics, adding she is using them and will do nothing for them after the election.
"They know they're being used," he said.
Trump said his agenda will help all Americans, but particularly African Americans and Hispanics living in high-crime areas. He predicted people in Milwaukee are going to “love Donald Trump” because they’ll be safe.
"Vote for me. I will fix it," Trump said to chants of U.S.A. "I will fight for you harder than anyone has fought for you ever before."
Ahead of the rally, Dems called on Trump to come clean over his taxes and condemned his comments toward women and minorities.
"Right now more than ever we need someone who is prepared to lead. That is not Donald Trump," said state Rep. Mandela Barnes, D-Milwaukee. "In these meltdown moments, we saw how he managed to double down on the worst parts of his rhetoric."
Trump, who ripped Clinton for calling some of his supporters deplorable, also criticized her use of a private email server while she was secretary of State. He said her use of the server made information vulnerable to attack, she destroyed emails following a subpoena and lied to Congress.
To loud applause and chants of "lock her up," he said people have had their lives destroyed for less.
"The American people have had it with years and decades of Clinton scandals and their total corruption," Trump said. "This year is going to be the year the American people say 'enough is enough.'"
Trump was introduced by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Thompson and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. Some top state Republicans weren't at the rally, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, who were in Washington, D.C., with Congress in session.
Giuliani said Clinton and Democrats were "locking people into poverty."
He said Trump wants to give the poor "the ladder to success" by ensuring people can live in a safe community and get a good education and a job.
Giuliani knocked Clinton, saying she disgraced the State Department and accused her of pay-to-play in her role as secretary and that she "sold her oath of office."
He also bashed her use of a private server while secretary to chants of “lock her up.”
"I cannot understand why she is not being prosecuted," he said. "We have a situation where the Clinton's are too big to be prosecuted."
Thompson urged attendees to "get on the Trump train."
"Get on the train," Thompson said. "We are moving America forward."
Clarke described Trump's candidacy as "a movement unlike we've seen since 1980."
"I really believe something is happening here," Clarke said.
He said there are three main issues in the campaign: radical Islamic terrorism, rising violent crime rates and the economy.
Trump, Clarke said, was made for this movement of turmoil in the United States.
Before the speech, two protesters were escorted out of the venue. One held a sign that read "we are all animals," while the other's sign said "it's not food, it's violence."
During the speech another woman held a sign and yelled "animal liberation now" before being walked out.
-- By David Wise