‘Lock her up!’ chants, warnings against early voting mark Trump rally in Macomb Co.

Event played out more like a Trump 2024 rally than GOTV for the 2022 MIGOP ticket 

By: - October 2, 2022 9:51 am

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a Macomb County rally, Oct. 1, 2022 | Laina G. Stebbins

Thirty-eight days before Michigan’s general election, former President Donald Trump and GOP allies repeated the lie to a crowd of several thousand potential Michigan voters Saturday that Democrats “cheat” in elections and allow rampant voter fraud.

Despite the false claims, speakers including “MyPillow” CEO Mike Lindell encouraged Michiganders to vote — but “same day, Nov. 8. Don’t vote early,” Lindell said, claiming same-day voting makes it “harder” for Democrats to “cheat.”

That comes even as the Michigan Republican Party and officials encouraged Michiganders to take advantage of early voting, which kicked off Thursday.

When asked by reporters at the Macomb County rally whether she supports absentee voting, GOP gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon hedged, saying: “I really haven’t gotten that question. I haven’t really talked about absentee ballots yet.”

Dixon, who has not said if she’d accept the results of the election, is trying to oust Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Nov. 8.

Featured speakers at the Macomb County Community College Sports and Expo Center in Warren included: Dixon; Attorney General nominee Matthew DePerno, Secretary of State nominee Kristina Karamo; U.S. Reps. Lisa McClain (R-Romeo) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.); GOP congressional nominees John James and Paul Junge and more. State Rep. Steve Carra (R-Three Rivers) also attended and Trump insinuated that U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) was present, although it was not clear if he was.

Trump, who came out to raucous applause during the Village People’s “YMCA” and after Barbra Streisand’s “Memory” and the Phantom of the Opera title song, led a meandering, nearly two hours-long speech that played more like a Trump 2024 rally than a 2022 get out the vote event for the Michigan GOP ticket. At one point, the former president teased a 2024 run.

“I ran twice, I won twice, I did much better the second time … and now, we might just have to do it again,” Trump said, even though he lost both the Electoral College in 2020 and the popular vote by a 7 million-margin.

A song that’s known as “Wwg1wga” — an abbreviation for the QAnon slogan, “where we go one, we go all” — was also played during the rally, following a recent pattern at Trump events.

 

Trump’s speech encompassed topics ranging from conspiratorial critiques of the Democratic Party, gas prices, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the southern border, crime rates, inflation, voting fraud, lies about abortion care and New York’s attorney general who’s suing Trump to anti-LGBTQ+ tirades.

Each candidate gave their stump speech, some more inflammatory than others, and some received more of an enthusiastic audience reception than others at the hours-long event.

Trump mentioned DePerno numerous times throughout his speech. Though he name-dropped many others and eventually had Dixon on stage with him, it took the former president roughly an hour to talk about the GOP gubernatorial nominee. DePerno and Karamo also joined Trump on stage near the end.

“We will have a sweeping and decisive victory in November and take those three psychopaths out of Lansing,” Karamo said.

She was apparently referring to the top state officials, who are all Democrats: Whitmer; Attorney General Dana Nessel, who is facing DePerno; and Karamo’s opponent, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

Whitmer criticism was rampant, with Dixon hitting her on her early COVID-19 orders that angered many Republicans.

“It’s time to send Democrats to the basement permanently,” she told the crowd in an apparent callback of Trump’s 2020 criticism of President Joe Biden campaigning from his basement.

Dixon is currently trailing behind Whitmer in both poll numbers and fundraising.

While many of the GOP speakers were on stage, the crowd broke into, “Lock her up!” chants in reference to Whitmer, Nessel, Benson and Clinton. Speakers, including DePerno and Dixon, offered remarks about the media that led to supporters turning around, booing and even flipping the middle finger to the press area.

Aside from Trump, Greene was met with the most fervent applause and cheers. DePerno and Karamo were also well-received and were featured on many supporters’ shirts and signs — although Trump merch was most visible at the rally.

At one point, Greene retread the false claim that the militia-linked plot to kidnap and execute Whitmer in 2020 was a hoax set up by the FBI to frame MAGA supporters. Dixon has also toyed with the notion in speeches last month.

Four men have been convicted in the plot so far.

“Democrats want Republicans dead and they have already started the killings,” Greene claimed on stage, while offering no evidence. The rhetoric echoes QAnon conspiracies that have led to violence. 

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).

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