Wisconsin Republican defends Trump: ‘There was nothing I found offensive’

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Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) defended former President Trump after reporting surfaced that he called Milwaukee a “horrible city” in a closed-door meeting with Republicans earlier Thursday.

“Well, he said nothing that I considered an insult to Milwaukee,” Grothman, who was in the meeting with Trump, said on NewsNation’s “The Hill,” when asked about the remarks.

“He made it clear we had to do better in Milwaukee, as we have to do in many of the big cities in the northern United States. But having been born in Milwaukee raised right north of Milwaukee, there was nothing I found offensive. I think you had, like always, some mainstream media personalities, who like to think of an excuse to drag down President Trump, and that’s not true.”

“He said nothing that I consider to be a criticism of Milwaukee, other than that we’ve got to get more of them to be voting Republican in the future,” added Grothman, who represents a district near Milwaukee.

Grothman also noted the former president spoke for at least an hour, which he said is a long time to go “without having a devious reporter mischaracterizing what you say. And that’s what happened here.”

Trump returned to Capitol Hill on Thursday for the first time since the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. He met with House Republicans in the morning before joining Senate Republicans for lunch.

Reports about Trump’s Milwaukee comments set off waves among political operatives and observers. Milwaukee is hosting the Republican National Convention this summer and is the largest city in a state that will prove pivotal to winning the election in November, in what is expected to be a close rematch between the former president and President Biden.

The Trump campaign quickly clarified the former president’s comment, saying Trump does not think Milwaukee itself is “horrible,” but that the crime in the city is, after reports circulated that he dissed the upcoming site of the RNC.

Dylan Johnson, a Trump campaign spokesperson, called the situation “a desperate attempt to get likes” on social media and noted no reporters were in the room where the former president met with Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“It’s a total lie,” Johnson said in a statement that included links to GOP members who defended Trump. “President Trump was explicitly referring to the problems in Milwaukee, specifically violent crime and voter fraud.”

NewsNation is owned by Nexstar Media Group, which also owns The Hill.

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