President Trump has reveled in his decision to hold a political rally Saturday night in one of his favorite locations – Macomb County – rather than attend the annual White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington.
Presidents typically engage in the Correspondents Dinner’s snarky atmosphere, putting forth political satire that targets the media and the opposition party. But Trump did not attend last year’s dinner and this year he has made it abundantly clear that, rather than hob-knobbing with the “media elite,” he will hold a competing event in Middle America, in north Macomb’s Washington Township, at a newly opened indoor/outdoor sports facility.
The gathering will serve a thank you to Macomb Republicans, similar to the GOP lovefest at a local speaking engagement by ex-Trump confidante Steve Bannon last fall, recognizing the county’s overwhelming national influence in delivering the presidency to Trump.
In response, the Macomb Democrats have organized a relatively modest counter-event in nearby Shelby Township, where they will engage in anti-Trump messages at a UAW hall, a forum that will be one-part rally, one-part pot-luck dinner, and one-part “teach-in” on the impact of Trump’s presidency.
Trump supporters have been pushing hard for a big turnout at their Macomb rally, with the president playfully declaring that he looks forward to spending an evening “with my favorite deplorables.”
The Republican president has highlighted the alternative gathering as another effort to bash the media. “Why would I want to be stuck in a room with a bunch of fake news liberals who hate me?” a recent Trump email said, referring to the Correspondents Dinner.
Among the robo-calls urging local Republicans to attend the rally, Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, the soon-to-be ex-wife of Trump son Donald Trump, Jr., has appealed to supporters in this way:
“While the media elite will be celebrating themselves in the D.C. swamp that night, President Trump wanted to be with real Americans instead to celebrate our national economic revival.”
While entry at the Trump rally is free, the president has gone to extraordinary lengths to promote the event. According to The Detroit News, a contest was created so that new contributors of just $1 to $15 to the Trump re-election campaign will be entered into a lottery, with the winners (and a friend) receiving a plane ticket and hotel accommodations as they attend the rally as a “special VIP guest” of the president.
To be honest, Washington Township, Mich., has never been a travel destination on anyone’s radar.
Meanwhile, with an eye on the upcoming mid-term elections in November, Macomb Democrats will not be holding back at their event, which will be held simultaneously about 10 miles away. They billed the confab as an effort to publicize Trump’s “racist and divisive policies.”
“Our residents are tough, empathetic people who know the meaning of a hard day’s work. In 2016, Macomb County voted for change. Unfortunately, we got hate and division instead. This rally is being held to show the country that Macomb County’s Democrats are ready to fight,” said Jeremy Fisher, president of the Warren Area Democratic Club, and an organizer of Saturday’s “Rally for Victory in Macomb.”
The Trump campaign rally is set for 7 p.m. at Total Sports Park, 65665 Powell Road in Washington Twp., located just east of the Van Dyke expressway and just north of 30 Mile Road. Doors open at 4 p.m. Tickets are required and available at donaldjtrump.com.
The Democratic rally, with entry available to all, is slated for the UAW Local 400 hall, 50595 Mound Road, just south of 23 Mile Road, in Shelby Township. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m., with the confab wrapping up at 7 p.m.