As an impeachment inquiry moves ahead in Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump held his first rally since the U.S. House of Representatives began to consider his removal from office. in 2016, Trump only lost Minnesota by 1.5 percent, and the state has become one of his top targets heading into the 2020 election. He opened the rally in front of nearly 20,000 people by touting, “Thank you Minnesota, this is a great state. We’re going to win this state in a very short period of time.”

President Donald Trump addresses a rally in Minneapolis.

Outside protesters by the thousands lined the street in a heavily Democratic city. They chanted, “Fuck Trump” and “Dump Trump,” and homemade signs and costumes called for his impeachment. “He’s not fit, he doesn’t care about the people, he’s just doing it to get more money as president, he’s already a millionaire,” one protester said.

Protesters outside the Trump rally in Minneapolis.

A supporter who first voted for Trump on her 18th birthday said, “We were told to avoid the street that way because it was getting violent already down there. There was a lot of curse words, very angry people who don’t know how to properly express themselves.”

The event spurred some testy encounters in a state that features the only divided legislature in America, leads the nation in voter turn-out and usually prides itself as a place in which civil discourse is valued.

“Gay, Muslim or diaper head, you’re a Democrat,” one Trump supporter said. Another added, “He doesn’t care if he hurts people’s feelings; he just wants what’s best for the country.”

When asked whether Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s president in which he asked for an investigation into Joe Biden is an impeachable offense, one of the President’s supporters – who is also a Ukraanian immigrant – said no. “I’ve never seen Republicans be so active,” the supporter mentioned.

Noting the impeachment efforts, President Trump responded, “I think we’ll see turnout like we’ve never seen in the history of our country.”

Two suburban women we spoke with hadn’t been active in politics before, but this presidency propelled them into activism: “We’d like a president who acts like a grown-up, understands the rules of being a grown-up. Be honest, be kind, be truthful. He’s not.” Holding balloons depicting Trump as a baby, they added, “Never has been anybody this disrespectful of the law and other people – so at age 57, I’m out protesting.”

The location of Trump’s rally, Minneapolis, is represented in Congress by Somali American Ilhan Omar, a frequent target for Trump. He asked the crowd, “How do you have such a person representing you? I’m very angry at you people. She is a disgrace to our country, and she is one of the big reasons I’m going to win and the Republican Party is going to win Minnesota in 13 months.” The last time a Republican won Minnesota was in 1972 for President Richard Nixon, who resigned in 1974 after facing the likelihood of impeachment.

As the 2020 presidential election ramps up, stay tuned to Almanac on Fridays at 7 pm on TPT2 (and repeated on Sundays ay 9:30 am) for ongoing coverage of the issues that will matter most in Minnesota.

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    Mary Lahammer
    Anchor, Reporter, Producer covering politics, government, history, food for Twin Cities PBS since 1998.