Trump keeps hinting at how desperate his campaign is for votes, telling rally crowds he 'wouldn't be out here' if he didn't need them

Bill Bostock
·4 min read
LANSING, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 27: Supporters watch a video of U.S. President Donald Trump while waiting in a cold rain for his arrival at a campaign rally at Capital Region International Airport October 27, 2020 in Lansing, Michigan. With one week until Election Day, Trump is campaigning in Michigan, a state he won in 2016 by less than 11,000 votes, the narrowest margin of victory in the state's presidential election history. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
A video of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at Capital Region International Airport in Lansing, Michigan, on Tuesday. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump told a Michigan rally on Tuesday that he would not be there if it weren't for the pandemic, hinting yet again that he felt his campaign was in need of more votes.

  • "I probably wouldn't be standing out here in the freezing rain with you. I'd be home in the White House, doing whatever the hell I was doing," Trump said in Lansing on Tuesday.

  • He made similar comments earlier that day in West Salem, Wisconsin, and on October 20, in Erie, Pennsylvania.

  • With five days to Election Day, Joe Biden is maintaining a steady lead over Trump, with polls in Wisconsin — a longtime Democratic state that Trump picked up in 2016 — suggesting Biden has a substantial lead.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump told supporters in Michigan and Wisconsin on Tuesday that he wouldn't be there if the COVID-19 pandemic had not dealt such a blow to his campaign — and it's not the first time he's hinted at being desperate for votes.

In the run-up to Election Day on November 3, both Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, have traversed the US, holding rallies and racking up media appearances.

But Trump, on several recent occasions, has told his supporters that if not for the pandemic, he would not have needed to visit them.

"It wasn't even going to be like we had an election," Trump told a crowd in Lansing, Michigan, on Tuesday. "I probably wouldn't be standing out here in the freezing rain with you. I'd be home in the White House, doing whatever the hell I was doing. I wouldn't be out here."

Trump narrowly won Michigan in 2016, ending six consecutive general elections in which it was won by the Democratic Party.

OMAHA, NE - OCTOBER 27: US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally on October 27, 2020 in Omaha, Nebraska. With the presidential election one week away, candidates of both parties are attempting to secure their standings in important swing states. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
Trump at a campaign rally in Omaha, Nebraska, on Tuesday. Steve Pope/Getty Images

Earlier Tuesday, Trump also suggested to assembled followers in West Salem, Wisconsin, that he was there only as a last resort.

"What the hell do you think I'm doing here on a freezing night with 45-degree winds?" he said. "Do you think I'm doing this for my health? I'm not doing this for my health."

And later that day, at a rally in Omaha, Nebraska, Trump said: "I am standing here, freezing. I ask you one little favor: Get the heck out and vote."

Trump won both Wisconsin — a longtime Democratic state — and Nebraska in 2016. Recent polling suggests Biden's lead in Wisconsin is growing.

Read more: New report: 2020 campaigns are on track to cost $14 billion, obliterating past election races

On October 20, Trump explicitly told a crowd in Erie, a town in the swing state of Pennsylvania, that he had come only because he needed their votes.

"Four or five months ago when we started this whole thing — because, you know, before the plague came in, I had it made. I wasn't coming to Erie," Trump said. "I mean, I have to be honest, there's no way I was coming."

Washington ballots
A worker processing mailed-in ballots at the King County Elections headquarters in Renton, Washington, on August 5. Ted Warren/AP

"I didn't have to," he continued. "I would've called you and said: 'Hey, Erie. You know, if you have a chance, get out and vote.' We had this thing won. We were so far up."

He added: "We had the greatest economy ever, greatest jobs, greatest everything. And then we got hit with the plague, and I had to go back to work. 'Hello, Erie, may I please have your vote?' Right?"

And on Tuesday, the first lady, Melania Trump, made her first appearance on the campaign trial in Pennsylvania. As Business Insider's John L. Dorman reported, the appearance was most likely aimed at connecting with suburban women.

As of Wednesday evening, Biden had maintained his comfortable national lead over Trump, according to a polling tracker run by FiveThirtyEight.

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