Republican nominee Donald Trump campaigned in Michigan Monday, a state where he is narrowing the gap with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, according to recent polls.
Speaking in Grand Rapids in the early afternoon, Trump focused on jobs and the economy, promising Michigan voters that he would bring back manufacturing jobs.
“Michigan has lost one in four manufacturing jobs since Bill Clinton signed NAFTA,” Trump said.
“Before NAFTA, there were 280,000 auto jobs in Michigan, and now there is 160,000 and its going down fast. We have nearly $800 billion in trade deficits with the rest of the world,” he continued.
Manuel Perez III, a west Michigan business owner, attended the Grand Rapids rally with his 26-year-old daughter, Veronica Perez, a recent college graduate and entrepreneur.
“The one thing I noticed was the warmth and welcoming nature of the crowd, unlike the reports you hear from the crowd,” Perez told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Perez and his daughter gathered with more than 6,000 people in a rally that was announced two days prior. “We are living through the greatest jobs thefts in the history of the world, and the people of Michigan, more than almost any place, know that,” Trump said, blasting his Democratic opponent.
“Hillary got rich selling your jobs to the same special interests who pushed the jobs out of America and the people who have given countless millions to her [campaign],” Trump said.
Perez and his daughter were attracted to Trump for being an outsider. “It just seems like there is so much corruption in politics, and to see someone come out and speak about the problems as frank as he does, that had my attention,” Perez said.
“I was there to listen to his message, and I was inspired just to be in the presence of such a successful businessman,” Veronica told TheDCNF. “I support him based on his policies.”
Perez, a Hispanic-American, highlighted what he called a broken immigration system. “I had a friend who was an illegal immigrant. He who told me that he would work here, make money and take it back to Mexico. He would sneak back across because he knew he could. He would just come and go using trains,” Perez said. “He was a good man, he and he just wanted to work, and help family, but he was an example of our broken immigration system even as far north as us here in Michigan.”
A Mitchell Poll in Michigan has Clinton up six in Michigan, and most released polls still have her ahead, but Trump has closed the gap in what was once considered a safe-Democrat state.
“It was very smart for Trump to campaign in Michigan today because private polling is showing Michigan turning into a tossup,” John Yob, veteran political operative and CEO of Strategic National, a Michigan-based political consulting firm, told TheDCNF.
“Trump already had momentum in Michigan prior to the renewed FBI investigation and this is giving him additional wind at his back as we head into the final days.”
Survey Monkey‘s latest forecast had Clinton just one point ahead of Trump, 43 – 42 percent.
“He was on message in Grand Rapids today and clearly has a bounce in his step. He seems to know that he has a very real chance of winning Michigan,” Yob said. “Michigan will be very close and he has the best chance of winning Michigan of any candidate since 1988.”
“A Trump administration will stop the flight of American Jobs,” Trump said. “Alright here’s the story, no more Mr. Nice Guy, you want to build you plant in Mexico, have a great time, but if you think you’re going to ship your products back across the border, you can forget it.”
He promised that as president, he would call the executives of companies with plans to move overseas and tell them, “we will charge them a 35 percent tax when they try to ship their products back into the United States.”
“It used to be, the cars were made in Flint, and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico. Now, the cars are made in Mexico, and you can’t drink the water in Flint,” he said, referring to the lead contamination of water in Flint, Mich.
While jobs and the economy was the central focus of his speech, Trump also discussed the FBI’s re-investigation into Clinton’s private email use. Another 650,000 emails were discovered while the FBI investigate disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who was married to longtime Clinton-aide, Huma Abedin.
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