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Despite COVID-19 surge, thousands attend Trump rally in Waukesha

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WAUKESHA (WKOW) -- President Trump is not letting the coronavirus get in his way in hopes of winning Wisconsin after he hosted his second rally in the battleground state in the last week.

In Waukesha, President Trump held a rally at Stein Aircraft Services with thousands of supporters in attendance, many without masks, despite the state ranking one of the worst in the country, shattering COVID-19 records for the number of positive cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

As of Saturday, the state recorded 4,062 positive cases, 25 deaths, and 199 people were newly-hospitalized, according to the latest numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

President Trump is not taking Wisconsin for granted, just as he didn't in 2016, making multiple trips to the Badger state in the final days of the 2020 campaign.

This will be his second visit after hosting a rally in Janesville last Saturday. The president is making his final pitch to supporters while he trails his opponent Joe Biden by five percentage points in the latest Marquette Law School Poll and is behind in fundraising.

Most supporters who attended believe the polls don't matter.

"We don't have faith in the polls," said Art Katchman from Milwaukee.

"I know he's going to win, the crowd speaks for itself -- end of story," said Karla Sprung from West Allis.

Fans of the president referenced polls in 2016 that showed then-candidate Hillary Clinton with sizable leads in most battleground states, like Wisconsin.

"The silent majority is going to come out of the woodwork," said Art Henschen who traveled from Illinois to attend his first Trump rally.

Many attendees did not wear masks at the outdoor event and temperature checks were given upon entry. Still, COVID-19 was top of mind for voters.

"I think coronavirus is less scary than people think," said Jack Richards, a UW-Madison student who will be voting for the first time this presidential election. "I know a bunch of people my age who got it and they're all fine."

All issues aside, voters know how crucial Wisconsin is as the president aims for another victory after winning the state by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016.

"This is the most important election we will ever see," said Donna Katchamn of Milwaukee.

"This can change our lives," said Richards.

Ahead of President Trump's visit, several Democrats held a virtual event calling the president's response to the pandemic a failure.

"They have not come up with a plan but Joe Biden has a plan, Donald Trump does not, for the biggest challenge we are facing right now," said Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Watch the president's full speech here:

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Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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