Hundreds of supporters filled the conference room of the Detroit Marriott in Troy, Mich. on Tuesday wearing bright red “Make America Great Again” hats and chanting “four more years.” The crowd was there to hear from Vice President Mike Pence and rally in support of President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. 

Pence’s stop in Troy was the final leg of his day-long bus tour of Michigan. Pence spoke in Lansing at the Michigan Farm Bureau’s legislative seminar earlier in the day. 

Though Trump won Michigan in 2016 by 10,704 votes over Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, Trump lost in Troy by 314 votes. However, Trump did win Macomb County, which borders Troy and is considered a key battleground county in the state.

The event opened with remarks from Laura Cox, Michigan Republican Party chairwoman, who spoke about her support for Trump and Pence.

“President Trump and Vice President Pence made a promise to fight for Michigan,” Cox said to the crowd. “And I know no matter what, and everyone here in this room will vote to re-elect the President. Promises made and promises kept.” 

Cox then turned the mic over to Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, to introduce and promote Pence.

“President Trump, as great as we know, he’s had a great wingman beside him all the way,” Perdue said. “I can tell you, I’ve never heard an administration that loves America and puts America first more than the Trump-Pence administration.”

Pence opened his 30-minute speech by expressing his continued support for Trump and reminding the crowd that Michigan was a state Trump won back in 2016.  

“Here in Michigan, you believed we could be stronger,” Pence said. “You believed we could be prosperous again. You said ‘yes’ to Donald Trump in 2016, and I know that Michigan is going to say ‘yes’ to four more years of President Trump.” 

Pence then talked about Trump’s immigration policies and the administration’s commitment to building a wall along the southern border.  

“Under the President’s leadership, we have made historic investments in border security and working on the crisis of illegal immigration on our border,” Pence said. “Once we secure our border, we’re going to pass immigration reform that puts America first.” 

According to the 2018 Enforcement and Removal report, ICE made 158,581 administrative arrests in the 2018 fiscal year, as opposed to the 143,470 arrests made in 2017. 

Lastly, Pence talked about the Trump administration’s track record on promoting and creating manufacturing jobs. 

“Now, as I stand before you here today, I’ll tell you here in Michigan, the American economy is booming,” Pence said. “Since election day in 2016, almost 8 million jobs have been created by businesses, large and small, including 120,000 right here in the Great Lakes state.”

Under the Trump administration, roughly 6.7 million jobs were created over the past 3 years. In Michigan, over the first 30 months of his presidency, 111,300 jobs were created. By comparison, Obama created 205,000 jobs in Michigan in his last 30 months of office.

Pence closed out his speech by encouraging the crowd to vote for Trump in 2020. 

“Between now and November we’re going to keep on marching,” Pence said. “We’re going to make Michigan and America more prosperous than ever before with President Donald Trump in the White House for four more years and with God’s help.” 

Across the street from the Marriott, protesters stood outside of the Children’s Hospital to express discontent with Trump’s health care policies. Since Trump has been in office, he has undertaken efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and roll back protections for pre-existing health conditions.

Deirdre Waterman, mayor of Pontiac, Mich., spoke at the Michigan Democrat’s anti-Trump protest outside of the hospital to denounce how the president has dealt with health care since taking office.

“He has shown insensitivity and a total lack of understanding of the need to provide affordable, quality health care options that everyone can afford,” Waterman said. “In budget after budget, he fought to slash critical programs like Medicare and Medicaid, thus taking them from so many who depend on them. We stand out here today as the voice, speaking loudly and emphatically for those who you cannot hear. We want real solutions to real problems, not fake solutions and empty promises.”

Pam Borowi, a supporter of Trump and Rochester Hills resident, spoke to The Daily after the rally about her consistent support of the President and her experience at the rally. 

“I love Trump, and I love Pence, and I love everything they’re doing,” Borowi said. “Mike Pence outdid himself. I’d never heard him speak before, but he’s very charismatic and I really enjoyed hearing him. He tells it like it is. He’s very authentic.” 

LSA senior Kate Nachazel, former vice president of the University’s chapter of College Republicans, said in a statement to The Daily she supported Trump and Pence’s choice to host a rally in Michigan.

“Pence coming back to Michigan reaffirms that Michigan will be a key swing state in 2020,” Nachazel said. “Because it was so narrowly won in 2016, it is unsurprising to me that Trump and his team are starting early and prioritizing in Michigan.”

Reporter Julia Forrest can be reached at juforres@umich.edu.

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