Updated: October 31, 2020 02:06 AM
Created: October 30, 2020 10:45 PM
(ABC 6 News) - President Trump appealed to Minnesota voters Friday, just days before Election Day, but his rally didn't go without controversy.
The venue for the rally changed from the McNeilus Steel facility in Dodge Center back to the Rochester International Airport due to state orders.
"Your Democrat governor tried to shut down our rally, silence the people of Minnesota, and take away your freedom and your rights," Trump said.
The original plan estimated up to 25,000 people maximum in attendance. But state guidelines limit gatherings indoors or outdoors to 250 people.
His rally was renamed a Make America Great Again peaceful protest rather than a victory rally.
Trump called out rival Joe Biden claiming civil unrest from George Floyd's death in police custody would extend into the suburbs. He reinstated his support for strict border security, loosening business restrictions, and not defunding law enforcement.
"The left wing Democrats treat law enforcement like criminals and they treat criminals like heroes," Trump said. "They support sanctuary cities that get Americans robbed, raped, maimed and murdered."
As for the pandemic, or as Trump refers to as the China virus, he touted his claim of an upcoming vaccine - something the president claimed would not be possible under Biden's leadership.
The rally riled up well more than 250 people outside the airport hours before Trump landed. He greeted supporters before delivering remarks.
"He's going to turn Minnesota red, we're going to flip this state. We are so close," said Martha Mae Kottschade, who attended the rally.
My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell also attended and said he praised the president for his commitment to restore freedom.
"What a great message here for Minnesota," Lindell said. "We're talking about safety and security and the American Dream."
President Trump left Minnesota with a promise to get the country "back to normal" amid the ongoing pandemic and unrest.
Hours before Trump's arrival, the City of Rochester issued a statement that the event had already reached maximum capacity. Officials asked people who were not invited to stay home to curb the spread of COVID-19 and watch it online instead.
"There is substantial risk in attending a large event like this, even if it’s held outdoors," said Graham Briggs, OImsted County Public Health director. "The safest choice is to stay home."
Trump lost Minnesota to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election by 1.5%.
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