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Trump rallies supporters: ‘If we win Michigan, we win the election’

Donald Trump speaks at a podium with American flags behind him.
President Donald Trump speaks at the Get Out the Vote Rally in Waterford Township,Michigan on February 17, 2024. (Bridge photo by Brett Farmer)
  • Donald Trump held a Saturday rally in Michigan, encouraging attendees to vote in the presidential primary
  • He touched on multiple subjects including automotive jobs and the justice system 
  • Michigan’s presidential primary is Feb. 27; GOP caucus is set for March 2

Former President Donald Trump returned to southeast Michigan Saturday evening, urging his supporters to “send a signal” in the swing state that's long played a key role in his political career.

Speaking from a packed and chilly jet hangar in Waterford Township, Trump was bullish about his chances to retake the White House in 2024 and unseat Democratic rival President Joe Biden.

Much of his speech was spent criticizing Biden’s pivot towards more renewable energy and electric vehicles, playing on fears about the stability of automotive jobs by claiming Biden has “ordered a hit job on Michigan manufacturing” by doing so.


Trump and Biden have long made overtures to blue-collar workers in Michigan and have redoubled those efforts in the months since the United Auto Workers strike.

UAW recently moved to endorse Biden, but Trump predicted “most of the auto workers are going to vote for me.” 

He invited one auto worker in the crowd on stage and suggested workers would be “screwed” by the union’s deal and potentially lose their jobs due to automation and outsourced manufacturing.

A UAW member speaks at a podium while Donald Trump stands next to him.
President Donald Trump speaks with a UAW member at the Get Out the Vote Rally in Waterford Township on February 17, 2024. (Bridge photo by Brett Farmer)

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, contended in a statement ahead of Trump's speech that Michigan is “better off because President Biden has our backs” and arguing Trump has stood “squarely against workers.”

Trump saved many of his choicest insults in Saturday’s speech for the justice system, telling Michigan supporters that his highest priority is “ending the weaponization of the legal system” and  vowing to restore “fair, equal and impartial justice” while dismissing the many charges he's fending off in state and federal courts.

“We've done nothing wrong,” he said to applause.

Trump is seeking the Republican nomination for president for a third time and is the frontrunner in a primary contest with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Texas entrepreneur Ryan Binkley in the GOP primary.

Michigan voters will help decide whether Trump is again the GOP presidential nominee. Early voting began Saturday morning for Michigan’s Feb. 27 presidential primary.

A man and a woman stand together and hold a phone in front of them to take a selfie
President Donald Trump supporters take a selfie at the Get Out the Vote Rally in Waterford Township on February 17, 2024. (Bridge photo by Brett Farmer)

Trump highlighted the fact that polls were open and encouraged voters to cast their ballots, but later advocated for “one day voting with paper ballots and voter ID” in a pitch for greater election security. Following the 2020 election, Trump publicly questioned Michigan’s general election results as part of a national campaign to undermine Biden's victory.

Republican party activists will have a larger say in the matter this primary cycle, as the Michigan GOP plans to split its presidential delegates to the Republican National Convention based on the results of both the Feb. 27 primary and a March 2 caucus convention that will be limited to party loyalists.

That caucus could still be contentious - the Republican National Committee on Wednesday voted to recognize former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra as chair, but Kristina Karamo has refused to step aside.

Hoekstra was present at the rally and Trump recognized him during his speech, telling the crowd he'd asked party officials whether they “could get this guy Hoekstra” to run the state GOP and flip Michigan red.

He reiterated the importance of Michigan in his 2024 campaign strategy, saying “everything in our lives should be aimed” for the Nov. 5 general election.

“If we win Michigan, we win the election,” Trump said

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