President Donald Trump's reported plans to stop in Minneapolis didn't come to fruition, but he did speak briefly from the tarmac at MSP Airport in front of a group of supporters en route to Mankato.
Fans chanted "four more years" as he approached the podium, and Trump used the appearance to focus on the fallout from the civil unrest that followed in the Twin Cities after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police on Memorial Day.
During his brief speech, Trump criticized the response in the Twin Cities to the riots, saying leaders waited too long to call up the National Guard, and said it was either the result of "pride or stupidity."
He said that some U.S. cities, namely those run by Democrats, have been the scene of "left wing violence," which has been a common theme of his re-election campaign.
He continued to say that when the National Guard was called up in the Twin Cities, it was "all quelled in like two minutes," noting that "we weren't politically correct, it was tear gas and whatever," and it was like a "knife cutting through butter, and it was all over and that was it."
In reality, there was still significant unrest on the first night the National Guard was deployed in earnest during the riots, with that night – Friday, May 29 – still seeing multiple buildings looted and burned, particularly in the area near the 5th Police Precinct on Nicollet Avenue.
The Saturday and Sunday, however, proved far more successful as the number of troops was increased, and ultimately the serious damage seen earlier in the week never returned.
Gov. Tim Walz had criticized Mayor Jacob Frey for his initial response to the riots, while Frey recently hit back and suggested Walz was at fault for delaying the decision on deploying the National Guard.
During his appearance, Trump brought up a series of business owners whose properties were damaged in the unrest, among them Jim Stage, the owner of Lloyd's Pharmacy in St. Paul; Gemechis Merga, the owner of Rongo's Auto Repair at Nicollet and 36th in Minneapolis; and John Wolf, the owner of Chicago and Lake Liquor in Minneapolis.
Each recounted the fear for their livelihoods during the riots and the subsequent trouble they have endured trying to get their business back up and running in the aftermath.
Gov. Walz in July appealed to the Trump Administration for federal funding to help with the recovery from the unrest, but was denied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who said it was the state's responsibility.
But on Monday, Trump intimated that his administration would help those who spoke during his appearance, telling Wolf, "We'll give you a hand, ok?" and Stage, "Whatever we can do you know we're going to help too."
"While I'm president I will fight for a future for every American city, we want every American family to be secure and every child be able to achieve the American Dream like these people ... they will again achieve the American Dream," Trump said.
The president also mentioned the COVID-19 pandemic briefly, which has so far claimed the lives of 170,000 Americans, saying "it's going away" and that we're going to have vaccines and therapeutics "really soon."