Hours before Trump was scheduled to land in Wisconsin, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced that she will name impeachment managers ahead of a House vote on Wednesday to send two articles of impeachment — alleging obstruction of Congress and abuse of power — to the GOP-controlled Senate.
“Our opponents say ‘We’re not going to win. Let’s impeach him,'” Trump said at the top of his rally.
The start of the third impeachment trial in U.S. history will likely coincide with another key agenda for congressional lawmakers that has also drawn the ire of Trump. The Senate is expected to vote on a privileged War Powers Resolution introduced by Senate Armed Services Committee member Tim Kaine, D-Va., that is meant to block Trump from using military action toward Iran without first seeking congressional approval.
The move comes amid lawmakers’ increasing frustration with the administration over a U.S.-led airstrike that killed Iranian Quds Force Gen. Qassem Soleimani and resulted in heightened hostility between Washington and Tehran. The resolution is expected to receive bipartisan support with at least four Republicans voting for its passage, despite Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s insistence that the attack, which was carried out without the approval of Congress, was necessary due to an imminent threat against the U.S.
Trump is scheduled to take the stage at the Panther Arena, where scores of supporters are already lined up, an hour before Democrats face off in the final debate in Iowa before that battleground state holds its caucus on Feb. 3.
The president’s appearance in Wisconsin is an effort by his campaign to again clinch victory in a state that was notoriously blue before Trump beat Hilary Clinton by nearly 23,000 votes in 2016.
A recent Fox News Poll shows Democratic frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., leading Trump by four points in Wisconsin. Forty-six percent of registered voters favor Sanders compared to 42 percent backing Trump.
Democrats are expected to hold their national convention in the crucial state of Wisconsin in July in an effort to secure a 2020 win.
Counterprotests and other related events organized by both Democrats and the Trump administration were planned ahead of the rally at an arena in the heart of downtown.
Democrats were focused on health care issues, with Mayor Tom Barrett, the state Democratic Party chairman, and others were planning to speak against Trump’s health care policies at a Milwaukee hospital. They were pressing the need to uphold the current law, enacted under former President Barack Obama, that guarantees coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
Protests were also planned around the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee arena. The Coalition to March on the DNC said more than a dozen groups would be joining its event. And immigrant and refugee advocacy group Voces de la Frontera planned a separate rally to criticize the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants and refugees.
A group takes a picture in the front row as they arrive for a campaign rally with President Donald Trump Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Meanwhile, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, was holding an event to highlight the administration’s criminal justice reform efforts with Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Trump signed the First Step Act, a law designed to overhaul the criminal justice system, reduce the number of people in prison and help former inmates rejoin society. It was a rare bipartisan victory, with backing from black leaders and lawmakers.
Democrats and Republicans are trying to win over black voters in big cities such as Milwaukee that will play a huge role in deciding who will become the next president. Lower African American turnout in 2016 was part of what helped fuel Trump’s victory.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.