Doom, destruction and dishwashers: Key takeaways from Trump’s twin rallies in Wisconsin and Michigan

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Donald Trump made the most of the latest Wednesday recess in his New York hush money trial by returning to the campaign trail to address rally crowds in two key battleground states: Wisconsin and Michigan.

The Republican presidential candidate and criminal defendant has complained loudly about Judge Juan Merchan’s requirement that he spend four days a week at Manhattan Criminal Court, where he stands accused of falsifying business records to conceal a $130,000 payment to the adult film star Stormy Daniels in October 2016 to ensure her silence about a sexual encounter she alleges they had a decade earlier.

But with the judge granting a midweek break so long as the trial continues to make progress, Mr Trump was free to hit the road. He began his day in Waukesha, Wisconsin, before relocating to Freeland, Michigan, in the afternoon to address his supporters ahead of November’s election.

While he did just about manage not to make any further breaches of the gag order imposed on him by Judge Merchan, Mr Trump did complain: “I’ve got to do two of these things a day. You know why? Because I’m in New York all the time with the Biden trial.

“It’s a fake trial. They do it to try and take your powers away, try and take your candidate away.”

Here is a look at what else he had to say during his twin addresses, which largely saw him play the hits, weaving in his customary allotment of insults to rivals, grievances, misinformation and apocalyptic forecasts.

Trump admits Secret Service order on January 6

Perhaps the headline revelation of the day was the former president’s admission that he did order his US Secret Service detail to take him to the US Capitol on 6 January 2021, backing up the testimony offered to Congress by former Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

Mr Trump recounted the story in Wisconsin but mocked Ms Hutchinson’s contention that he had “lunged” at the agents when his demand was rejected on safety grounds, allegedly in an attempt to grab the steering wheel of their vehicle.

“Remember the person that said I attacked a Secret Service agent in the front of the car? It’s not my deal. I’m a lover, not a fighter,” he said.

‘I don’t think our country is going to survive’

Mr Trump is no stranger to scaremongering and has frequently predicted disaster for America should he fail to win November’s election.

Despite a steadily improving economy under his successor as the US continues its bounceback from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Republican has persistently painted a doom-laden picture of the country in the three years since he left the White House in disgrace, arguing baselessly that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Hamas’s assault on Israel would never have happened if he had remained in power.

His tone on the subject recalls his notorious remarks to his supporters in the moments before the Capitol riot: “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country any more.”

Biden ‘determined to create conditions’ for attack on US

Another shocking claim by Mr Trump saw him attempt to cynically capitalise on the explosion of angry demonstrations on American college campuses over the war in Gaza to suggest that President Joe Biden is wilfully presiding over a descent into lawlessness in America through his support for Israel’s military retaliation against Hamas.

Public ‘absolutely thrilled’ he enabled the overturning of Roe vs Wade

The former president has in the past happily taken the credit for stacking the US Supreme Court benches with conservative justices, which ultimately enabled the overturning of the historic abortion ruling, but is currently trying to avoid committing himself to an issue so divisive among voters.

Mr Trump told Time magazine earlier this week that a federal abortion ban was unlikely ever to reach the Resolute desk in the Oval Office and that the issue was better left up to the states to decide.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on 1 May 2024 (AP)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on 1 May 2024 (AP)

Speaking in Waukesha, he claimed that “people are absolutely thrilled” about the upending of Roe vs Wade, without specifying who he was talking about, before suggesting in Freeland, without evidence: “Every legal scholar wanted this to be done. Most Democrats wanted it. Liberals wanted it.”

He also praised the justices for their “wisdom and courage”, a timely tribute given that they currently hold the fate of his “presidential immunity” defence against criminal prosecution in their hands.

Claims Biden’s impressive job numbers are inflated

The US blew past expectations to add 303,000 jobs in March, leaving even Fox Business correspondents to stand back in wonder, and Mr Trump offered no basis for his claim that the figures were inaccurate.

Given that he was fined almost half a billion dollars in February by a New York judge after being found liable for fraudulently inflating the value of Trump Organization assets, you might have assumed this was an area he would be inclined to steer clear of.

Again, he insists he has never met E Jean Carroll

Another unwise attack Mr Trump launched into was to again insist in Michigan that he had never met the retired Elle magazine columnist who he has been found liable for sexually assaulting in a department store dressing room and then defaming by denying it, a stance that cost him $83.3m in damages earlier this year.

London and Paris ‘opened their doors to jihad’

Mr Trump seldom ventures abroad and has not been to the UK or France since leaving the White House but, nevertheless, blamed the victims of Isis terror attacks on London Bridge and the Bataclan for the atrocities, insinuating they had only themselves to blame for being too soft on Islamist fundamentalism.

‘No, I will not defend you’

As part of the greatest hits package, Mr Trump reprised his possibly fabricated anecdote about an unnamed head of state of a Nato country that asked him whether the US would continue to defend his nation even if it was behind on its defence spending commitments to the alliance.

Mr Trump first recounted the tale at a South Carolina rally in mid-February and created an international outcry for treating the military collective like a protection racket.

There will be gaffes

Mr Trump, who enjoys accusing President Biden of blunders, made several gaffes of his own across his two speeches, mispronouncing the words “infrastructure” and “big”, struggling with a teleprompter and also wandering off into a bizarre rant about domestic appliances.