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Wisconsin Republican defends Trump: ‘There was nothing I found offensive’

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) defended former President Trump after reports emerged that he called Milwaukee a “bad city” during a private meeting with Republican lawmakers early Thursday morning.

“Well, he didn’t say anything that I would consider to be an insult to Milwaukee,” Grossman, who was present at the meeting with Trump, said when asked about the remarks on NewsNation’s “The Hill.”

“He made it clear that Milwaukee, like many large cities in the northern U.S., needs to try harder. But as someone born in Milwaukee and raised just north of Milwaukee, I found nothing offensive. As always, I’m sure there were some mainstream media figures who love to come up with excuses to bring down President Trump, but that’s just not true.”

“He hasn’t said anything that could be taken as a criticism of Milwaukee other than that we need to get more people to vote Republican going forward,” added Grossman, who represents a district near Milwaukee.

Grossman also noted that the former president spoke for at least an hour, saying, “It’s tough to speak for that long without some malicious reporter misrepresenting what you said. And that’s what happened here.”

President Trump returned to the U.S. Capitol on Thursday for the first time since the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, meeting with House Republicans in the morning before having lunch with Senate Republicans.

Reports of Trump’s remarks in Milwaukee have caused a stir among political activists and commentators. Milwaukee is hosting the Republican National Convention this summer and is the largest city in a state that is crucial to winning what is expected to be a close November election between Trump and President Biden.

After reports circulated of Trump’s disdain for the Republican National Convention’s location, the Trump campaign quickly clarified the former president’s comments, saying he didn’t think Milwaukee itself was “bad,” but that he thought crime in the city was bad.

Trump campaign spokesman Dylan Johnson called the situation a desperate attempt to get likes on social media and noted that there were no reporters in the room where the former president met with Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“That is a complete lie,” Johnson said in a statement that included links to Republican lawmakers defending Trump. “President Trump was specifically referring to issues in Milwaukee, specifically violent crime and voter fraud.”

NewsNation is owned by Nexstar Media Group, which also owns The Hill.