Election 2016

Trump stops in Waukesha with 'law and order' message

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger and Cameron Lane-Flehinger

WAUKESHA, WIS.—Donald Trump made a stop in the heart of right-wing Wisconsin Wednesday night, packing the Waukesha County Exposition Center with frenzied supporters and giving a speech that pushed his usual message of economic growth aside in favor of an appeal for “law and order.”

As the state’s most conservative county, suburban Waukesha helped put Gov. Scott Walker into the governor’s mansion and used its political muscle to support him as he undertook a series of reforms. Yet Trump’s efforts to woo the county’s voters have fallen short of expectations compared with past Republican candidates.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz beat Trump in the county by 39 points in April’s state primary, and many in the party have yet to embrace the man they view as “mean,” as one undecided Republican said outside the auditorium.

That doesn’t mean that Trump won’t try to win over the GOP stronghold. He strode to the podium while Lee Greenwood’s post-9/11 nationalist dirge “God Bless the USA” blared, before ticking off a series of crime statistics meant to engage the hundreds of overwhelmingly white voters.

“There’s no place safer than a Trump rally,” Trump blared. “Across the entire nation … homicide rates raised by over 10 percent last year. What’s happening to our country is a shame.”

After a rambling riff on the “crookedness” of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, corresponding with chants of “Lock her up,” Trump blasted Clinton’s suggestion in Monday’s debate “that everybody, including our police, are racist and prejudiced.”

Trump’s remarks on race seemed to impress the crowd. An elderly Waukesha retiree Hilde’s voice became bitter as she recounted how the country she grew up in is gone.

“Life used to be more safe,” she said. “Trump’s gonna make it better again.”

Bill Sulurb, a middle-aged insurance salesman and self-professed Bill O’Reilly addict, said he favored Trump’s method of cracking down on crime.

“We have to wake up as a country,” he said. “I have clients at my office whose relatives have been shot. I know you’re gonna say that’s unconstitutional, stop and frisk, but we have to end the violence.”

Violence from abroad was also on the minds of some rally attendees. Sajai Hussain, a 26-year-old Muslim from Chicago whose parents emigrated from Pakistan in the 1980s said that radical Islam is a bigger threat than any issues of law and order.

“I’ve seen a lot of religious Muslim guys who talk s--- about this country,” Hussain said. “Trump’s critics are naive and ignorant. He’s not just gonna kick every Muslim out and be another Adolf Hitler.”

Pointing to the red “Make America Great Again” hat on his head, Hussain said, “I wear my hat to mosque when I pray. If others want to come here, they need to be a part of this country.”

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