Wisconsin Republicans rush to Trump’s defense after Milwaukee quip

Wisconsin Republicans rushed to former President Trump’s defense Thursday after it was reported that the presumptive GOP nominee criticized Milwaukee during a closed-door conference meeting.

Punchbowl News reported that Trump called Milwaukee — the site of the Republican National Convention next month — a “horrible city,” prompting outrage.

Badger State Republicans disputed the outlet’s characterization of Trump’s remarks.

Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.) wrote “Lies busy omission” in response to Punchbowl News’s social media post.

“@realDonaldTrump was specifically referring to the crime the CRIME RATE in Milwaukee,” Van Orden posted on social platform X, adding a screenshot of a news article that said the city ranks third for violent crimes nationwide.

Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) similarly rushed to his state’s defense.

“I was in the room. President Trump did not say this. There is no better place than Wisconsin in July,” Steil posted on X.

One source in the room told The Hill that Trump was criticizing Milwaukee’s track record on election integrity.

The Milwaukee quip, though, earned a swift rebuke from Democrats.

“Stop picking on Wisconsin. Stop picking on Milwaukee,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) told The Hill. “We make the best brats there, the best cheese there. We make Harley Davidsons there. They’re hardworking people, and it’s a great city in a great state.”

Wisconsin Democratic Coordinated Campaign Manager Garren Randolph piled on, suggesting that Trump should not visit Milwaukee next month for the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) convention.

“If Donald Trump thinks Milwaukee is so horrible, then he shouldn’t come to our city. Milwaukee – our state’s largest and most diverse city and home to more than 577,000 people, the Bucks and Brewers, and the country’s best beer – deserves better than a convicted felon, racist, and wannabe dictator who hates us and our values,” Randolph said.

“Donald Trump looks down on Milwaukee, he looks down on Wisconsinites, he looks down on everyone who isn’t one of his billionaire donors. But we already knew that – for years, he pushed tax cuts for the top 1% while raising costs for working people and incentivizing companies to ship Wisconsin jobs overseas,” he continued. “Voters in Milwaukee are fed up with Donald Trump and extreme MAGA Republicans not caring about them. We’ll see that at the RNC – and then again in November, when Wisconsinites send Donald Trump packing.”

Al Weaver contributed.

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