Trump insulted Milwaukee and then things got strange

When Trump insulted Milwaukee and then things got strange

On Thursday, former President Donald Trump reportedly criticized Milwaukee, the upcoming site of the Republican National Convention.

“Milwaukee, where we are having our convention, is a horrible city,” Trump allegedly told House Republicans during a closed-door meeting, according to Punch Bowl News.

The controversy was further complicated by conflicting responses from Republicans trying to clarify or deny Trump’s statement.

Rep. Bryan Steil of Wisconsin tweeted, “I was in the room. President Trump did not say this,” referring to Punch Bowl reporter Jake Sherman’s initial tweet. “There is no better place than Wisconsin in July.”

Steil later explained to a local TV station that Trump was not disparaging the city itself but discussing specific issues within Milwaukee, such as problems with elections, crime, and public schools.

A spokesperson for Steil told Business Insider that since no one took notes during the meeting, it was unclear if Trump said “Milwaukee” and “horrible” together.

“He’s not saying Milwaukee itself is horrible,” the spokesperson clarified. “He was saying the crime and election integrity issues the city is facing are what’s horrible.”

A convention spokesperson noted that Trump was addressing concerns about the security perimeter for the convention, which has frustrated the GOP due to uncertainties about protest locations near the main arena.

Both political parties have historically chosen convention sites that may not align politically, with Republicans previously hosting in cities like New York. Local officials often accommodate these events for the economic boost and attention they bring.

Trump’s alleged comment quickly circulated in Wisconsin, with local reporters covering the story. His campaign denied the report.

“Wrong. Total bullshit,” spokesperson Steven Cheung tweeted, quoting Sherman’s initial post. “He never said it like how it’s been falsely characterized. He was talking about how terrible crime and voter fraud are.”

Sherman stood by his reporting, asserting, “Trump absolutely said it – undoubtedly,” on Twitter. “People hear what they want. This is familiar to all who have covered Trump or Trump-adjacent stories for the last 10 or so years.”

Democrats and the Biden campaign swiftly defended Milwaukee, a key swing state city. In 2020, Democrats planned to host their convention in Milwaukee before switching to a virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Once he’s settled in with his parole officer, I am certain he will discover that Milwaukee is a wonderful, vibrant, and welcoming city full of diverse neighborhoods and a thriving business community,” tweeted Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, whose district includes most of Milwaukee.

President Biden’s account shared an old photo of him celebrating the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2021 NBA championship at the White House.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson also responded to Trump.

“Well, if Donald Trump wants to talk about things that he thinks are horrible, all of us lived through his presidency, so right back at ya, buddy.”

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