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Bergman, Ferguson respond to Trump visit

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP — U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman and his opponent Dana Ferguson offered sharply contrasting views on Donald Trump Jr.’s election rally at the Houghton County Memorial Airport.

Bergman, who introduced Trump Jr. at the rally, said nobody knows the fight in adversity more than Trump and his family.

“The Western U.P. has never had a better friend as president than our President Donald J. Trump,” he said.

He praised Trump Jr. as a family man, outdoorsman and author.

“He has traveled across the United States the last four years meeting thousands of Americans, standing alongside us to preserve the American way of life against the radical lunatic left… Donald Trump Jr. has stood with Michigan, the fight for our Great Lakes, stands against the radical leftist mob trying to erode our Second Amendment rights, and he’s fought alongside us to preserve our way of life,” he said.

In a statement Thursday, Ferguson, Bergman’s Democratic challenger from Marquette, called the rhetoric and tone of the event “extraordinarily disappointing, and potentially dangerous.” From Bergman’s address, he singled out the comments about the left, which Ferguson interpreted as including “everyone but (Bergman’s) supporters.”

“When someone speaks of uniting differences, you expect to hear certain words,” he said. “When they say you’re working toward a future of which they can be proud, you expect to see certain actions. Our representative is supposed to be of and by the people. Calling half of his constituency ‘radical lunatics’ is demagoguery.”

Responding to Ferguson Friday, Bergman spokesperson James Hogge denied the sweeping characterization Ferguson had alleged. Instead, Hogge said, “Radical left” described Ferguson’s agenda, such as backing the Green New Deal, repealing “stand your ground” laws and supporting universal insurance.

“Democrats in the First District are supporting General Bergman this year in historic numbers,” Hogge said. “Rioting, burning down businesses, looting, and defunding the police are all actions that First District voters – regardless of party affiliation – overwhelmingly agree are lunacy. Dana’s mischaracterization of the General’s statement is just another example of how dishonest this team has been from the start.”

Ferguson also condemned a remark Trump Jr. made regarding non-binary people. After referring to his father as a “big boy,” Trump Jr. added, “I think in the Upper Peninsula I can still say boy, right? I don’t have to go through the other 976 genders? Just stick to the two genders, that keeps it simple because I don’t have that much time.”

“Donald Trump Jr.’s mockery of LGBTQ+ individuals was profoundly insulting to many residents and I deeply condemn politicking on this type of division,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson also attacked the lack of attention to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The event, which included seating inside an open hangar and standing outside, did not employ social distancing and did not require masks.

Attendees received temperature checks upon entering. They were notified that upon entering the event, they had voluntarily assumed all risks regarding COVID-19.

“The event did not follow CDC guidelines in a location where COVID-19 cases are at alarming rates,” Ferguson said. “Our leaders should be doing the right thing, and that means following the guidelines set in place by health professionals to keep our communities safe. We are still in the midst of a pandemic and I continue to remind residents to adhere to social distancing and wear masks.”

Bergman accused Ferguson of “feigning anger over this open-air visit,” which he said was done to distract from voters’ enthusiasm for Bergman and Trump.

“Donald Trump Jr. canceled another leg of his trip so he could beat the incoming storm and be in the Copper Country with hundreds and hundreds of hard-working Yoopers,” he said. This historic visit shows just how much enthusiasm there is for President Trump, John James, General Bergman, Greg Markkanen, and our entire Republican team. The President and his entire campaign are invested in the success of rural America, and because of this, the people of the First District will have the President’s back on November 3rd.”

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