Flint, MI— Six days before the Nov. 3 election, Vice President Mike Pence held a Trump Campaign event at the Bishop Airport in Flint. 

The Make America Great Again Victory Rally took place late Wednesday evening. To kick things off, a United States of America-branded jet landed in front of hundreds of onlookers while “All Right Now” by the band Free blasted from mounted speakers. 

The aircraft door lowered to reveal Pence waving to the crowd. 

He took to the stage where he spoke on several political issues including military spending, the loss of blue-collar jobs in Michigan, defunding the police, and freedom of religion. 

Pence recognized City of Flint Councilman Maurice Davis for being in attendance, who spoke prior to the rally and offered his support for Trump.  

Davis said he has been speaking to members of the Trump Administration all week, including Pence, about bringing dollars back to Flint. 

“America thought Flint is fine, Flint has recovered from the [water crisis]. I’m [trying to help] the country to understand, we’re not fixed yet,” Davis said. 

Most crowd members wore Make America Great Again gear. Some wore masks. 

“After Joe Biden and the last administration tried to tax and spend and regulate back to a growing economy, President Donald Trump created the greatest economy in American history,” Pence said. 

A man live streams Vice President Mike Pence at his Make America Great Again rally at the Bishop International Airport in Flint, Mich. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

Pence pointed to President Trump’s 2017 tax cut, which he said stands in contrast to Democratic rival Joe Biden, who has said if elected would raise taxes on the country’s wealthiest people and corporations.

Over the past three years, the Trump Administration has created 112,000 new jobs in Michigan, Pence said. 

“Wages were rising across the board…But what meant the most to the President and me was that the wages were rising the most radically for hard-working, blue-collar Americans. The forgotten men and women of America were forgotten no more.” 

19-year-old David Bartlett said he is using his first vote ever for Trump because he hopes to see more blue-collar jobs. 

“I don’t really know what I’m going to do with my life but I’m either going to become a police officer or go into the trades. I’m only 19 years old and I’ve already lost a job in the trades. When the coronavirus happened, I actually lost my job because of the shutdown by our radical left governor. Trump is very strong on the economy…he runs the country like a business,” Bartlett said. 

David Bartlett, 19, of Romeo, Mich. (right) and friend cheer for Vice President Mike Pence at the Make America Great Again Rally at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Mich. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

Pence said that during Joe Biden’s term as Vice President, America lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs. 

“The last Administration literally said, after losing 200,000 manufacturing jobs, they said those jobs aren’t coming back,” Pence said. 

After Trump came into office, he created 500,000 manufacturing jobs, including 17,000 “right here in the wolverine state,” he said. 

“You all deserve to know here in Michigan that Joe Biden’s running mate put her radical, environmental agenda ahead of Michigan jobs and Michigan autoworkers,” he said.

Crowd members booed and some shouted that Pence had better hair than Trump. Bartlett yelled to the Vice President that he was looking great. 

“Did you see that? I held my thumb up and he pointed at me,” Bartlett said. 

Pence went on to address defunding the police and Black Lives Matter protests. 

“[Our] President stands everyday with the men and women who stand on the thin blue line of law enforcement,” he said. “The President and I will always support the right of peaceful protests, but rioting and looting…is not peaceful protest.” 

Pence said Biden never condemned the protesters responsible for burning down businesses and “perpetrating violence.” 

“Joe Biden explains it all by saying he thinks America is systemically racist.” 

The crowd booed. 

“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris regularly say that they believe the police have an implicit bias against minorities…Under President Trump, I’ll make you a promise: we’re not going to defund the police,” Pence said. 

He was “proud” to report that Trump has appointed more than 220 conservatives to federal courts, including the recently appointed Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court Justice, he said. 

“She now occupies the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The truth is, Justice Ginsberg was a trailblazer for women. She inspired generations of women to step forward. And I know that the incredible character and life story of Justice Amy Coney Barrett will inspire a new generation of women.” 

Declan Ehrhart, 16, attends Vice President Mike Pence’s Make America Great Again Rally to earn his Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

Sixteen-year-old Swartz Creek resident Declan Ehrhart wore his Boy Scout uniform to the rally. He is a First-Class scout, three ranks away from achieving Eagle status. He said he was there so he could earn his Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge. 

“I’m coming to this to get a point of view from the Republican side so I can also one from the Democratic side and compare how they affect me and others around me,” Ehrhart said. 

His mother, Suzette Ehrhart said they are avid Trump supporters, but living near Flint, a mostly Democratic city, can sometimes make them uncomfortable.

“You walk on eggshells…we don’t put signs in our yard. I have family that are in other states that have had issues with supporting Trump. Some, we don’t like to instigate anything,” she said. 

A vendor poses for a photo outside Vice President Mike Pence’s Make America Great Again rally at the Bishop International Airport in Flint, Mich. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)
Keith Truth, 57, has been following rallies for Donald Trump and Mike Pence setting up a tent for his business, Forbidden Truth. (Santiago Ochoa | Flint Beat)

There were two groups set up with tents outside of the airport, one of which was collecting signatures to recall Governor Gretchen Whitmer. In the two hours they were outside, they collected 50 signatures.

The other tent was run by Keith Truth, 57, for his vending business, Forbidden Truth.

He was selling t-shirts with slogans like “Jesus is my savior, Trump is my president,” and “Talking to you reminds me to clean my gun.” Signs outside of his tent read, “Black voices for Trump,” and “All lives matter.”

Truth, who’s from Detroit, did the same thing for Pence when he was in Lansing yesterday, and plans to follow his rallies around Michigan and even maybe out of state.

He said he’s tired of politicians assuming Black people have to vote Democrat. But he doesn’t describe himself as a Democrat or a Republican, he says he’s just “awake.”

He voted for Barack Obama previously, but was disappointed and said he felt like he failed the Black community. When Trump ran in 2016, he got on board early on.

“I think he tells it pretty accurate, the way it is,” Truth said. “And also, I would honestly say he’s bringing down what would be the traditional system of government, you know with the Clintons and the Bidens…and people that are tied to a system of oppressing people.”

Truth says he’s experienced political division among his friends and family, but that he’s “past that point.”

“The truth has no rival,” he said.

The rally concluded with Pence asking the crowd to pray for Trump’s presidency and reelection, adding that Michigan is critical this election because of its swing state status. 

Pence endorsed John James for the U.S. Senate and John Moolenaar for reelection as U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 4th congressional district. 

Trump will hold a rally at Oakland County International Airport in Waterford on Friday starting at 10 a.m. 

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...

2 replies on “Pence campaigns in Flint, promises blue-collar haven for Michiganders”

  1. I’d never heard of the Flint Beat until last night at the Pence rally. You did a nice job of sticking to the facts and leaving your opinion out of it. I was born in Flint and have had to rely upon the “Flint Urinal”, and its leftist slant, for local issues forever. I’ve bookmarked the Beat and will consider a donation in the future. I look forward to more of the truth reporting and sticking to the facts.

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