DULUTH — Surrounded by a fortress of shipping containers in the Clure Public Marine Terminal, Vice President Mike Pence returned to Duluth Friday, Aug. 28, touting the Trump presidential campaign and telling supporters: "I bring greetings from the 45th president of the United States of America, President Donald Trump."
"It's on Minnesota," Pence added, to chants of "Four more years."
Pence spoke under an overcast sky and two days after he accepted the GOP nomination for vice president at Fort McHenry in Baltimore.
The Trump-Pence ticket is vying for reelection to the presidency against Democrat Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris in the general election Nov. 3.
U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber, R-Hermantown, preceded Pence at the podium, saying Trump and Pence brought hope in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We will come out of it stronger, more prosperous and more resilient than ever before,” Stauber said. “Our best days are yet to come.”
Regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there were hardly any masks worn and social distancing was not adhered to at the event, which featured a crowd that may have pushed the current limit for public gatherings in the state of 250 people.
Flanked by the American and Minnesota flags, Pence spoke from a raised platform to a cheerful red, white and blue crowd.
Since coming within 1.5 percentage points of winning the state in 2016, Trump and Pence have targeted Minnesota with repeated visits, eager to flip it red for the first time since Richard Nixon in 1972.
Kevin Arenz, 58, and Chris Klein, 37, rode motorcycles to the event from the Twin Cities, riding for the "Boots on the Ground Bikers for Trump."
"I don't consider him a politician," Arenz, of Savage, Minn., said. "He's the president of the United States and the world. What he's doing by ending endless wars wouldn't have happened without him."
"I don't care what comes out of his mouth," Klein, of Richfield, Minn., said. "I care that he has balls."
In conjunction with Pence’s stop in Duluth, several mayors announced in a joint letter their endorsement of the Trump ticket, including Larry Cuffe, of Virginia; John Champa, of Chisholm; Chuck Novak, of Ely; Chris Swanson, of Two Harbors; Robert Vlaisavljevich, of Eveleth; and Andrea Zupancich, of Babbitt.
Three Black Lives Matters protesters were asked to leave the event, which was on private property belonging to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. They left quietly.
“We were here to be seen, and to say we don’t support Donald Trump and Mike Pence,” Malachy Koons, 24, of Duluth, said, blaming their rhetoric for inflaming far-right violence in places such as Minneapolis and Kenosha, Wis.