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Red meat and reflected glory: In Duluth, Trump crowd gets exactly what it came for

MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday
The crowd went euphoric when the president announced his plans for mining in the Superior National Forest.

It’s not easy being an outsider at a Trump rally.

It’s not just the protesters, like the two at the rally in Duluth who were circled by Trump supporters chanting the president’s name until security hustled them out of Amsoil Arena. It’s anyone who questions the basic aspirations of Trump voters or the president himself. On Wednesday night, those Trump backers — more than 6,500 who showed at the rally in Duluth — made it clear how unified they were, with cheers and taunts that punctuated Trump’s nearly hourlong speech.

Trump didn’t neglect Minnesota-specific issues. He started the program with an acknowledgement of Minnesota’s Republican candidates for U.S. House and Senate and ceded several minutes of podium time to 8th Congressional District candidate Pete Stauber, who was cheered almost as much as Trump himself. 

The crowd went euphoric when the president announced his plans for mining in the Superior National Forest. “We will soon be taking the first steps to rescind the federal withdrawal in Superior National Forest and restore mineral exploration … for the people and miners and workers and for the people of Minnesota,” he said, injecting a rare caveat, “We’ll do it carefully and maybe if it doesn’t pass muster, we won’t do it all, but it is going to happen.” 

No caveats were needed when Trump expounded on his other targets of the evening, though: the media, immigration, trade, taxes, and Hillary Clinton, about which he and his supporters bonded with a solidarity that left no room for disagreement.  

“Those very dishonest people back there,” is how Trump identified the media horde that covers the rallies. “Those very dishonest people.”  

The crowd needed no further prompting, as it turned toward the media platform and started chanting, “CNN sucks. CNN sucks! CNN sucks! CNN sucks!”

Trump then referred to the executive order he finalized just hours earlier ending the separation of families detained at the border, a move aimed at quelling widespread criticism of the practice. “Today I signed an executive order. We’re going to keep families together but the border is going to be just as tough as it’s been. Democrats don’t care about the impact of uncontrolled migration on your communities, your schools, your hospitals, your jobs or your safety. Democrats put illegal immigrants before they put American citizens. What the hell is going on?”

In response, the crowd roared, “Build that wall! Build that wall! Build that wall!” 

Trump added, “We do want people coming across our border, going through our ports of entry but we want people to come through merit, not just through luck or happenstance. We need people to help, but we need people to come through a merit system.”

“USA, USA, USA, USA,” the crowd chanted.   

From there, Trump pivoted to the Department of Justice inspector general’s report on Hillary Clinton’s emails. “Have you been watching what is going on with the inspector general’s report? What a scam this whole thing is. How guilty is she?” he asked.  

“Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up,” the crowd yelled. 

As for the president’s accomplishments, it was clear that his supporters have nothing less than complete faith in his claims. “Nobody’s ever seen growth like we’re having right now,” he said. “When I go around and meet foreign leaders they all congratulate me. ‘Mr. President, congratulations on the growth of the United States. Congratulations.’  Every one of them.”

The crowd didn’t doubt it, intoning another round of, “USA, USA, USA, USA, USA.”

Trump returned the compliments, and frequently, telling the TV crews to turn their cameras on the crowd, referring often to their work ethic and accomplishments. “Our people are the smartest and the hardest working. Smarter than anybody and the hardest working,” he reassured them more than once.

By the time Trump concluded his speech, it was clear the crowd was more than a little pleased, almost giddy, with the president — and with themselves. For many, Trump had already summed up their feelings when, midway through his remarks, Trump broke from his script to ask: “Is there anything more fun than a Trump rally?”

Comments (23)

  1. Submitted by Josh Lease on 06/21/2018 - 11:02 am.


    Did you find anything disturbing about this rally, Ms. Brucato?

    From your report, one might conclude this was a typical political rally in the United States. Do you believe that? Was there nothing you found problematic? As a journalist? As an American? As a human being?

    Shorter version of your story: “the president spoke and he and his supporters were very happy about it.”

    I learned nothing from your reporting other than an estimated crowd size.

    • Submitted by Melissa Roberts on 06/21/2018 - 12:51 pm.


      So basically you’re upset because she chose to actually report the facts of an event of following the lead on what passes for most journalism today: skewed, opinionated writing that fit better on the pages of a gossip rag rather than a news outlet? Noted…

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/22/2018 - 12:41 pm.


        My impression is that Mr. Lease is commenting on Trump’s usual departure from reality and the failure of Brucatto to clearly identify and call him on it. Let’s face it: “Fake news” is essentially “disagreeable news”. I don’t think we can document a single instance where Trump has called anything he agrees with “fake”. So that allows him to live in a world where all agreeable news is real and all disagreeable news is fake. I find this a very convenient world view for those who can stomach it; but, any intelligent, reasonable and conscientious citizen knows that the nature of “real, actual, true” news is that it sometimes fits with one’s world view and sometime’s does not. And when it does not, an intelligent, reasonable and conscientious citizen must evaluate the need to alter their views to fit reality. Mr. Trump prefers to alter/ignore reality to fit his views and that should be of great concern to everyone.

    • Submitted by Barry Tungseth on 06/22/2018 - 07:50 am.

      There was nothing

      to learn as new news reporting. It was Trumps same old spew of lies and bull, full of bully tactic talking at a 3rd grade level, and patting himself on the back. Which is what every one of his speeches have ALWAYS been like. Nothing new to report.

  2. Submitted by marilyn hunt on 06/21/2018 - 11:08 am.

    public opinion

    the work to explain popular opinion has been used many times to sell what must be considered bad products….overcoming the problems of the times becomes difficult when greed and hatred, two ver strong emotions are given first consideration. the development of moral conscience can be harmed by deliberate introduction of fear…this of course was done many times in the near and ancient past with serious consequences. the founders of America tried to provide laws to protect this country from the evils of despotism and serfdom. we are responsible for protecting the country accordingly as individuals. we must do better than mobsterism. wrong can never be justified.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 06/21/2018 - 11:10 am.

    Is there anything more fun?

    Never having been especially fond of the mindless cheerleading that characterizes so many of them, I’ve generally avoided political rallies for decades, and last night’s example in Duluth doesn’t seem to have been an exception to that general rule. I can’t speak for anyone else, of course, but I might prefer getting my teeth drilled to attending a Trump rally.

  4. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 06/21/2018 - 11:13 am.

    Thanks, Cyndy, for portraying that Duluth Trump crowd exactly as it was: a blindly-following cult, complete with irrelevant chants that was sure to keep everyone from thinking a solid thought the whole rally time. I watched it on Fox TV and could not believe how completely 2016-election Trump’s performance was! Hillary Clinton is all he has to offer, mid-2018? The crowd reacts with chants as if the world was not a more dangerous place now, with Trump.

    What gets me is that they accept his lies. Number one: that all the world’s leaders think Donald Trump is wonderful. NOT! Most of them regard him the way anyone would a cockroach scrambling across the kitchen floor. He is a destroyer and is making the United States a lone player, with no allies, on the world stage. No one trusts him, and dictators “play” Trump–but he doesn’t realize that.

    I was ashamed for Duluth, except for the anti-Trump Minnesotans who went up to give peaceful evidence that not all of us have drunk the reality-TV KoolAid Trump offers.

  5. Submitted by LK WOODRUFF on 06/21/2018 - 11:31 am.

    What do people see in Trump that is positive??????

    He is so deeply flawed and irreversibly damaged. Embarrassingly so.

    He lies, and lies, and lies, and lies, and lies….. He is incapable of not lying!

    He is not bright. He is fact free and reading and details are annoyances.

    He is not good with money. He has massive debt and is setting the country up for the same

    He lacks empathy and compassion. He insults and denigrates everyone.

    He is a puffed up blowhard full of hot air braggadocio who brags incessantly.

    He is obviously very insecure. He is incredibly jealous of Obama!
    Hence his penchant for destroying everything he did in his 8 years in office.

    He is incredibly petty, vindictive and punitive. He lives to make others suffer.

    Trump is not honorable, not admirable. He is all about himself, 24/7.
    He cares not at all about anyone else. Ever!

    He is clueless when it comes to compromise and negotiation, choosing instead to control and manipulate others. He operates like the mafia.

    He leaves a wide path of utter destruction in his wake.

    And on and on and on and on………………..

    So someone please tell me what the draw or appeal is?!?!?!
    Because I absolutely do not see it in any way, shape for form.

    I only see a Hitler wannabe:(

    And a high level Narcissist who must have attention focused on HIM, all of the time.

    Wake up, those wearing blinders. And raise your standards!!!!

    He is scary, scary, scary. Every day, and in every way:(

    • Submitted by Marc Post on 06/21/2018 - 02:06 pm.

      The appeal is easy. Anger. Hatred. Inferiority. Narcissism. Delusion.

      Put simply, they see themselves. Someone just like them.

    • Submitted by Misty Martin on 06/22/2018 - 02:59 pm.

      I have to agree totally, L. K.

      In fact, I agree with what you said so much, I just may have to print your response and tack it up somewhere where I can see it every day, to remind me why I don’t like our current P.O.T.U.S., not that I need a reminder.

  6. Submitted by Mike Downing on 06/21/2018 - 11:46 am.

    How very refreshing!

    Cyndy Brucato’s article is very refreshing to read. Cyndy simply reported what was said & done in Duluth last night. Rather than taking MSM’s current direction of making opinion related comments, Cyndy was a true journalist who respects a readers ability to form their own opinions from her reported facts. Yes, how refreshing an article to read & understand an event like last night’s Trump rally!

    • Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 06/21/2018 - 02:08 pm.

      There Is More To Reporting!

      Simply quoting Mr. Trump’s words is not real reporting. When Mr. Trump repeats falsehoods and slanders while making inaccurate or self-serving claims, honest reporting requires pointing those out and providing context. It seems to me that many of Mr. Trump’s supporters really do believe whatever he says must be true and accurate when in fact (as has been shown repeatedly) much of what he says is either hyperbole, deliberately misleading, or simply untrue.

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 06/21/2018 - 02:40 pm.

      Cyndy Brucato didn’t have to “editorialize” with words of her own: Read the article again, and ask yourself why she put those audience chants where she did, quoting them again and again in their repetitiveness. She wrote a poem that showed up the fascist mindlessness of both Trump and his followers.

      But that seems to be too subtle for folks who go around using dumb acronyms like MSM. Sigh.

      • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 06/22/2018 - 11:33 am.

        I am usually not a fan of Ms. Brucato, but …

        I am with Ms. Sullivan on this one. Sometimes the inanity of Trump and supporters can be demonstrated simply by quoting them. One does not have to have it pointed out explicitly by Ms. Brucato to understand how horrible are the things that Trump stands for.

        By the way, even though I am not a fan, I wouldn’t mind seeing more from Ms. Brucato in Minnpost. She is a good reminder that there still remain Republicans with good sense in Minnesota.

  7. Submitted by Cameron Parkhurst on 06/21/2018 - 12:33 pm.

    Two years on

    and Trump still relies on Hillary to boost him up. Sad.

  8. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/21/2018 - 01:02 pm.

    Is there anything more bizarre than a 2020 candidate campaigning before the 2018 mid-terms ?

    He filed for re-election on Jan. 20, 2017 for the 2020 election.

  9. Submitted by ian wade on 06/21/2018 - 01:07 pm.

    Yeah, we undestand it just fine, Mike.

    Nationalism on display. What an embarrassing display from a sitting president.

  10. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 06/21/2018 - 01:38 pm.

    An essential tactic of authoritarianism

    is to dehumanize, meaning to cause certain groups of people to be viewed by others as less than human. Obviously this is at the core of both Trump’s instinct and the Republican party’s designed approach to securing and consolidating power.

    As we see from this article, equally essential to authoritarianism is a distinctly different form of dehumanization: to create supporters from those who consent to become less than human by abandoning all exercise of independent thought and moral agency.

  11. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 06/21/2018 - 04:16 pm.

    The Republican speaking technique that Trump deploys

    Evident in his presentation last night is the common technique used in Trump’s speeches. Very little is required of Trump other than no sense of guilt and Trump has that. The technique is repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat in hopes that someday some will say, “I have heard that many times, it must be true”. No critical thinking required, nothing more than a herd mentality reaction required. Facts are totally unnecessary. Even when things blow up in his face, such as caged children, Trump pushes on like there is nothing to see here. Barely mentioned in his presentation, but you can bet his caged children dumpster fire will be turned into how wonderful he is. Melania boarding the plane taking her to McAllen Texas to make a surprise visit at a captive children’s shelter wore a jacket with large letters on the back of her coat that said, “I DON’T REALLY CARE, DO U? That pretty much sums up the Trump’s tone deaf reaction to the whole mess and her photo op.

  12. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 06/21/2018 - 10:55 pm.

    Demagogues and lynch mobs

    Trump is a merchant of hate. He excels at whipping up a bunch of angry and self centered people into a mob. When I read this story, it reminded me of what another hate filled group of people did nearly 100 years ago.

    The distance from an angry crowd to an orgy of violence is short. Trump is turning our country into a powder keg and if it blows up, don’t be surprised!

  13. Submitted by George Kimball on 06/22/2018 - 06:52 am.

    Down is Up, then Up is Down

    I know there is some percentage of reasonable and even knowledgeable supporters of Trump. Yet it is clear to any reasonable onlooker (every single one of my dozens of friends and colleagues living in other countries or here on green card status included) that the vast majority of supporters are people who lack the motivation and/or ability to assess, analyze or, in many cases, even read. They are blind and angry and intolerant and racist followers who, when Trump decrees that “Down” is actually now “Up”, and declares having everything “Up” will make America great again and that “Down” is actually a Democrat plot to destroy America, they mindlessly cheer and accept it.

    Then, a week or maybe a month later, Trump can turn it around and announce that now, “Up” is “Down”, that this policy move is HIS brilliant new idea, and that this will make America great again, and that Democrats are responsible for “Up”.

    They cheer and believe. And how far away are some of them from finding an “Up-loving” Democrat and beating or even lynching (Duluth?) them? We have seen that Trump is capable of unscripted suggestions and comments that “inspire.”

    Scary. Dangerous. Maddening. Surreal.

  14. Submitted by Steve Roth on 06/25/2018 - 12:04 pm.

    Historians and Sociologists…

    …will have a field day examining Trump and his followers, but let’s call this for what it really is, a cult. By any definition, it is, especially when you view how cult leaders keep their followers believing.

  15. Submitted by Pete Atomic on 06/28/2018 - 08:46 am.

    District 8 is going republican

    Or at least much less DFL then it used to be. I’ve lived in Duluth since 2000, and grew up in northern Minnesota. I didn’t go to the rally, but I found both the event and the pre-rally roundtable quite fascinating. I think the glut of Trump anxiety articles here on MinnPost reflects the DFL concern that they are losing their many decades long grip on the Iron Range and in northeastern Minnesota generally outside of Duluth and Grand Marais (and maybe a few other places). There are a lot of issues at play here, and not the least is mining. The roundtable was perhaps more interesting than the rally in the sense that it really showed how much the mining industry is behind Trump. That was very interesting. I don’t think we would have had seen that type of enthusiasm with particularly former republican presidents.
    Another interesting thing I noticed was how anemic the DFL response (and really very wrong headed) to Trump’s visit. There were approximately 1,000 counter ralliers out there who got together at Leif Ericksen park on the east side of town. So, I thought the low number of anti-Trump people was the proof in the pudding. There were approximately over 8000 pro-Trump (according to the Duluth News Tribune) at the rally. Regardless, for quite a liberal town such as Duluth, I would have thought the anti-Trump crowd would have been much larger. The other thing was DFL chair Martin’s speech to the anti-Trump crowd, where he point blank called everyone at the Trump rally racists. I thought, wow! You know, many of those people at the Trump rally may have been recently voting DFL! ha ha… so, that was an interesting strategy. I don’t think its wise at all. If you label a group of essentially your neighbors as the ‘enemy’ I think you are desperate. So, maybe the DFL needs to change its name. It doesn’t represent farmers or laborers, anymore. I think that’s the problem. Maybe change it to the DSJWU, short for Democratic Social Justice Warrior Urbanites. That would actually be much accurate.

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