ST. PAUL — Hundreds packed into an event space at the Union Depot Wednesday, Oct. 9, to show their support for President Donald Trump and hear his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence's wife, Karen Pence, make the case for his reelection.
The event, billed as a "Women for Trump" discussion, was equal parts touting the president's accomplishments in the White House and encouraging the hundreds of women — and a handful of men — in attendance to support Trump in 2020. It was part of a broader campaign to get women out to the polls to reelect the president.
Trump and Pence held the conversation a day before Donald Trump and Mike Pence are set to rally in Minneapolis. The president and his campaign said Minnesota will be a top target to flip in next year's election. Minnesota hasn't elected a Republican presidential candidate in decades, but Trump came within 1.5 percentage points in 2016.
Karen Pence and Lara Trump presented a sort of character witness statement on Trump's behalf Wednesday, speaking to his concern for women and his efforts to approve policies that make their lives better. Each shared individual stories of spending time with Trump and emphasized his desire to improve women's lives.
“He cares so much about women, about men, and he cares so much about this country,” Lara Trump said.
She said women hoping to explain to their friends and neighbors why they planned to support the president should point to his work in getting more women into the workforce and passing a tax bill that provided tax cuts.
The pair also lamented the fact that polls and media reports tracking the president's support among women often misstate his support in that demographic as many feel they can't publicly voice their support for the president.
“A part of it is a little bit sad to me, that people cannot, in this country, say that 'I’m voting for President Donald Trump again,'" Pence said.
Sarah Dolejs, 54, of Apple Valley, and her sister MaryBeth Poole, 56, of South St. Paul, said they attended the event to find fellowship among other women who support the president. They said they'd not always supported Republican candidates but found Trump to be a straightforward individual who could get things done in Washington.
"I just really believe he truly cares about the American people and all the people and I think that that is something that gets lost along the way," Poole said. "And you don't really feel like you can share your viewpoints at all because my friends are all Democrats and so it's nice when you can share your perspective."
Democrats this week acknowledged that they'll have a tough time matching the campaign efforts in Minnesota and launched a social media fundraising campaign to block Trump's reelection bid in Minnesota. That effort gained the attention of celebrities like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Alyssa Milano, Patton Oswalt and George Takei. A party spokesperson said 850 donors contributed as of Tuesday afternoon.