WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump began his week-long counter to the Democratic National Convention on Monday by attacking Democrats and seeking votes in the Midwestern battleground states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Speaking to a group of supporters at the airport in Minneapolis, Trump accused Democrats of pushing “a left-wing war on cops” and suggested their sympathies lie with “law breakers and criminals.”
“Mine lie with law-abiding, hard-working Americans,” he said.
Trump also poked fun at former first lady Michelle Obama for taping a speech for the Democratic National Convention and mocked California Sen. Kamala Harris, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, for ending her own bid for president before the first votes were cast.
“She finished so badly,” he said. “…She went down like a rock in water.”
Trump’s brief stop in Minneapolis was the first in a week of events planned to counter the message coming from the Democratic National Convention, which opens Monday. Trump also is schedule to make airport speeches in Makato, Minnesota, and Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on Monday. Later this week, he travels to Yuma, Arizona, for a speech on immigration, and the Scranton area in Pennsylvania, where Biden was born.
Earlier Monday, Trump also said he wanted to pay a “surprise visit” soon to a fifth battleground state: Iowa. He had hoped to add Iowa to Monday’s schedule of Minnesota and Wisconsin, but White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said, “logistically, we could not make it work at the last minute.”
Trump told reporters at the White House that he has signed an emergency declaration for Iowa, which was battered last week by devastating storms. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has requested $4 billion in federal aid.
Trump also said he may hold a small memorial service at the White House on Friday for his brother, Robert Trump, who died late Saturday of an undisclosed illness.
“He loved our country so much,” Trump said Monday. “He was so proud of what we were doing and what we are doing for our country, so I think it would be appropriate.”
The administration also announced plans to possibly allow something environmentalist have long opposed: Oil drilling in the Alaskan wilderness.
“We’re looking at different things,” Trump said when asked about Arctic Wildlife Refuge drilling during an hour-long interview on Fox & Friends. “We may or may not do it.”
During his Fox interview, Trump previewed the week full of speeches by again hitting Biden over his age and energy – “Joe is shot, let’s face it” – attacking mail-in voting, accusing the media of being soft on the Democrats, and describing vice president candidate Kamala Harris as too far to the left.
Trump also declined to say, again, whether he would honor the election results should he lose to Biden. He cited the prospect of massive mail-in voting, saying “you’re never going to have a fair election” if that is put in place.
The president also questioned whether progressive Democrats like Bernie Sanders will be able to get behind Biden. “They can’t unite,” Trump said. “They don’t know how to unite.”
Trumpeting his foreign policy, Trump highlighted new penalties on China’s Huawei Technologies, designed to restrict telecommunications giant from access to commercially available computer chips. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the Commerce Department added 38 Huawei affiliates to the U.S. government’s blacklist, increasing the total to 152.
“We don’t want their equipment in the United States, because they’re spying on us,” Trump told Fox.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump tours battleground states to counter Democratic convention