Donald Trump brought the “Trump Train” to Janesville, Wisconsin, Tuesday for his first campaign rally in 11 days and first public appearance since his controversial speech to the America Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington D.C. on March 21. And this time, Trump is flexing his muscles right in the backyard of one of his most powerful critics — Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
Scroll down this page to view a full replay of the Janesville Donald Trump rally.
Janesville, a city of only about 65,000 people, would seem an odd choice for Trump’s lone rally announced so far ahead of the Wisconsin primary on April 5. But the fact that Ryan hails from the small municipality in the southern part of the state appears to explain Trump’s motive in holding his Tuesday rally at the Holiday Inn Express and Janesville Conference Center in the city.
Earlier in the current presidential campaign, Ryan had expressed his disapproval of Donald Trump on two occasions — first in response to Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, and later for Trump’s apparent reluctance to renounce support from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
Paul Ryan is trying really, really hard to distance himself from Donald Trump https://t.co/A8vPvyBm24
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) March 25, 2016
In response, Trump issued a vague threat directed at Ryan, saying that if he, Trump, became president, he would insure that Ryan would “pay a big price” for opposing him.
Last Wednesday, Ryan delivered a speech on what he called “the state of American politics” in which, without mentioning Donald Trump directly by name, he described himself as “disheartened” by the current political climate.
“How many of you find yourself just shaking your head at what you see from both sides?… Now, a little skepticism is healthy.”
Watch some of Ryan’s more pertinent comments that appear to be directed at Donald Trump in the Washington Post video, below.
Ryan’s speech was widely criticized as overly delicate in his hands-off approach to Trump, with one columnist even accusing Ryan of trying to “play Switzerland” by remaining, at least outwardly, neutral in his public statements about Trump.
Regardless, the House Speaker’s comments appear to have annoyed Trump, whose Janesville rally is already causing concern for police in Paul Ryan’s hometown.
Watch a full replay of the Donald Trump rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, in the video below. Trump is scheduled to take the podium at about 3 p.m. Central Time, 4 p.m. Eastern and 2 p.m. Pacific on Tuesday, March 29.
“This is beyond what our staff can handle,” said Janesville Police Chief David Moore after Trump announced the rally on Thursday, the day after Ryan’s speech. “We have 102 officers. It’s going to take more than that to handle this event.”
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Protesters have already announced plans to protest the Donald Trump event, including the Milwaukee-based immigrant rights group Voces de La Frontera.
“We are working as of now with local groups and members that we have there to make sure we do have a local presence,” said Voces de La Frontera spokesperson Primitivo Torres. “Unfortunately this negative rhetoric, this hateful rhetoric is really inciting a lot of people to come out to this event, but the people who are going to be there with us, they’re going to be there in a peaceful manner.”
A protest against Donald Trump in Janesville is also being organized via Facebook, but organizers on that page have also called for a “peaceful event,” adding, “violence will not be tolerated!”
Numerous Donald Trump rallies have been plagued by physical confrontations between protesters and Trump supporters, even leading to the cancellation of a rally in Chicago on March 11.
Trump himself has been accused of egging on his supporters to attack protesters, making statements from the podium such as “Knock the hell out of them. I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise.”
While it is not yet certain whether Donald Trump will hold another rally in a larger city in Wisconsin, such as Milwaukee or Madison, he is currently locked in a neck-and-neck race with Texas Senator Ted Cruz for the state’s 42 delegates, which will be awarded on a winner-take-all basis. Trump currently trails Cruz by a slim 3.4 percentage points, according to the FiveThirtyEight.com polling average.
[Photo by George Frey/Getty Images]