Donald Trump

Trump calls Milwaukee ‘horrible city,' sparking mixed reactions from GOP, Democrats

While some Republicans said Trump was commenting on the city's crime rate or election security, Democrats blasted the comments as out of touch

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With a month to go before the Republican National Convention, presumed nominee and former President Donald Trump is in hot water after he reportedly called the convention’s host city “horrible” during a meeting with Congressional Republicans.  

Trump called Milwaukee a "horrible city" during a meeting Thursday with House Republicans, according to a report from Jake Sherman of Punchbowl News.

After that report, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson wasted no time defending his city when asked to respond to Trump’s comments during a news conference.

“If Donald Trump wants to talk about things that he thinks are horrible, all of us lived through his presidency. So, right back at you, buddy,” Johnson said. “It is kind of strange that he would insult the largest city in Wisconsin because he's running for president – he absolutely wants to win Wisconsin, win the election. So, to insult the state that's hosting your convention, I think, is kind of bizarre actually. It's kind of unhinged.”

Wisconsin's Republican congressmen was one of several GOP officials who pushed back on the report. I was in the room. President Trump did not say this. There is no better place than Wisconsin in July,” U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil tweeted.

Other Republicans said that the quote was taken out of context.

“Trump was specifically referring to the crime rate in Milwaukee,” U.S. Rep. Derrick Van Orden said.

Regardless of Trump’s intent, cty leaders said they're making progress in decreasing crime and investing in public safety.

Peggy Williams-Smith, the president and CEO of the tourism bureau Visit Milwaukee, responded to Trump’s comments in the following statement.

"Milwaukee is an amazing city, attracting millions of visitors every year who fall in love with everything we know makes this city great. The Washington Post just named Milwaukee one of the best cities in the country in the summer. “Top Chef” loved Milwaukee so much they filmed a season here. We know it’s only a matter of time before everyone discovers all of the amazing things we have to offer, too!”

The tourism bureau also pointed to National Geographic including Milwaukee in its "Best Places in the World" article in 2023. That was after writer Andrew Nelson fell in love with the city's lakefront, museums and Midwestern hospitality, and included Milwaukee in a book he wrote called “Here Not There.”

"If you haven't been (to Milwaukee), you may not know how great it is. So, I'm really optimistic that all of the newcomers who are visiting Milwaukee this July are going to find out that it's a great engaging city with the friendliest people you can imagine,” said Nelson, a National Geographic book author.

New questions have also surfaced about whether Trump will appear in person at the RNC, given that his sentencing is set for July 11, four days before the convention is set to start on July 15.

Published reports from NBC News have detailed how the former president is preparing for a scenario in which he is on house arrest and is unable to attend the convention.

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