President Trump declared victory over former VIce President Joe Biden after their first presidential debate, telling a rally in Duluth, Minnesota Wednesday evening that they and other Americans won as well.
“I really enjoyed last night’s debate with Sleepy Joe … the verdict is in and they say that we, all of us, won big last night,” he told a crowd at Duluth International Airport on Wednesday.
The contentious event on Tuesday involved the two candidates shouting over each other and sparring on issues ranging from COVID-19 to violence in American cities. Biden responded on Wednesday in part by tweeting: “Donald Trump showed the country last night just how unfit he is to be president.”
At his rally, Trump continued to tout the ratings the prior night’s event received, and argued that he held Biden accountable for his record.
“Last night, I did what the corrupt media has refused to do. I held Joe Biden accountable for his 47 years of lies, 47 years of betrayal, and 47 years of failure. I held Joe accountable for shipping your jobs and dreams abroad, and for bowing to the violent mob at home,” he said.
His comments came just miles from Minneapolis, which has been rocked by protests in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died while in police custody in the city. Minneapolis and other U.S. cities collectively saw protests and sometimes violent unrest throughout the summer.
“Can you imagine these people? The way they take over Democrat cities? I don’t even believe it,” he said.
Trump’s visit will be his third to Minnesota in recent weeks. Trump led an airport rally in Mankato on Aug. 17 and another in Bemidji on Sept. 18, the same day that Democratic challenger Joe Biden visited a union training center in Duluth.
According to FiveThirtyEight’s average, Minnesota is leaning towards Biden by roughly nine points. Although Trump lost Minnesota in 2016, he was able to come within two percentage points, or about 44,000 votes of his rival, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and turn red nineteen counties which previously went to former President Obama.
During Tuesday’s presidential debate, Trump offered what appeared to be a preview of his campaign’s messaging by claiming that Biden supports the Green New Deal — an ambitious policy framework to combat the impacts of climate change and authored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., that Republicans have tied to the party’s more progressive elements.
That issue could be a vital tool for winning over voters in the Iron Range in northeastern Minnesota, where a group of six Democratic mayors voiced their support for Trump earlier this month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.