GREEN BAY -- Though trailing in the latest polls, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump expressed confidence Monday night at a rally here he will win both the Badger State and the White House next month.
“We are going to win the state of Wisconsin,” he told supporters at the KI Center in downtown Green Bay. “We’re doing great in the polls. Together, we’re going to deliver real change that puts America first.”
The latest Marquette University Law School Poll had Trump trailing Dem nominee Hillary Clinton by 7 points in a four-way match up.
But the GOP nominee dismissed the surveys, which he said aren’t accurately capturing his support.
“There’s a big undercurrent out there that they can’t poll,” Trump told the crowd, which the Green Bay Fire Department estimated at 2,500 people. “There’s a big undercurrent of support for me. Everyone is calling me and telling me we’re going to win Wisconsin. Traditionally Republicans skip Wisconsin, but I know I am going to win.”
Trump’s return to Wisconsin was his first since House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled an invitation for him to appear at an Oct. 8 rally in Walworth County. That was to be the first time Trump appeared on stage with Ryan, R-Janesville, Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh. But Ryan disinvited the GOP nominee following the release of a 2005 videotape that showed him making vulgar comments about women.
Ryan, Walker and Johnson all missed Monday’s rally, as did Mike Gallagher, the Republican nominee for the 8th Congressional District. Ryan told House GOP colleagues last week he would not campaign with Trump for the remainder of the race, while the other Republicans cited previous commitments for missing the rally.
Trump mentioned neither Johnson nor Ryan. Trump has taken some recent Twitter shots at Ryan, including one that said, "Paul Ryan, a man who doesn't know how to win (including failed run four years ago), must start focusing on the budget, military, vets etc."
At one point during Monday’s stop, the crowd began to chant “Paul Ryan sucks” while state GOP Chair Brad Courtney tried to address Trump backers.
Courtney issued a statement following the rally saying the party is “incredibly proud and fully supportive of Ryan and the work he does for the conservative movement here in Wisconsin and across this great nation.”
In addition to Courtney, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke spoke before Trump arrived on stage, with Clarke repeating a comment he made on social media that it’s time for “pitchforks and torches in America.”
Once Trump took the stage, he read from a teleprompter for much of his 50-minute speech, hitting topics that ranged from his pledge to create more jobs and building the nation's military might to blasting current U.S. trade policies and promising to build a wall along the country’s border with Mexico.
Trump also unveiled a new five-point proposal that would bar executive branch employees, members of Congress and Congressional staffers from lobbying the government for five years after leaving their positions. Trump said the move would “drain the swamp” of corruption in Washington.
“Donors are giving hundreds of millions of dollars to Clinton. I’m spending my own money and controlling myself. I’m working for you,” he said. “On Nov. 8, we will once again have a government by and for the people. You will see great things starting to happen.”
At multiple times in his speech, Trump hammered Clinton’s ethics, stating she is the “most corrupt person to ever run for presidency of the United States.” After that line, the audience broke into the “lock her up” chant popular at Trump’s rallies.
Trump mentioned the documents made public earlier in the day between the State Department and FBI showing disagreements over whether some of Clinton’s emails should be considered classified. The FBI and State Department denied any deal was offered, but Trump called it a “criminal conspiracy.”
“This is worse than Watergate and what does she get out of it? She gets to run for president of the United States, but we’re going to put an end to that on Nov. 8,” Trump said.
The Republican candidate focused on various emails from members of Clinton’s campaign staff that have appeared on WikiLeaks in recent weeks. He said the media were purposely not reporting that story although multiple national news organizations have run stories about the documents.
“We’re competing in a rigged election. The media is trying to rig the election, giving credence to false stories,” said Trump in a reference to the release earlier this month of the 2005 videotape and allegations from several women who claim the billionaire businessman made unwanted advances. “They are taking statements from 20 or 30 years ago and putting up big headlines. These events never happened. Most people believe me and we’re going to see a big backlash.”
Trump also said the media is an extension of the Clinton campaign, inspiring the crowd to turn to the media area and yell “Tell the truth.”
“Yes, tell the truth,” Trump said.
If elected president, Trump pledged he would fight for all Americans, uniting everyone under “one country, one God, one flag. Once again, we will have a government by and for the people. You will see great things starting to happen.”
-- By MaryBeth Matzek
Editor's note: This story has been updated with more details from the rally.