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Controversy Heats Up Over Trump's Campaign Rally In Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- We are three days away from President Donald Trump's visit to Minneapolis. Trump will hold a "Keep America Great" rally at Target Center Thursday evening, arriving in town while impeachment inquiries continue to swirl in Washington.

He'll hear cheers and jeers as some people plan to volunteer at the rally, while others are getting ready to hit the streets in protest.

On Monday afternoon, a small coalition of protesters turned out to say their numbers will be much larger on Thursday.

"We invite all Minnesotans to join us to oppose Trump's racist agenda, his anti-people agenda," Tracy Molm, of the Anti-War Committee, said.

Earlier Monday outside Target Center, a small group chanted, "No Trump, no KKK, no racist USA," ahead of holding a press conference regarding planned protests Thursday.

The coalition said they plan to protest peacefully, but they believe Trump will target U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar during his rally. They're worried that militia and anti-Muslim groups will follow the president to Minneapolis.

"We believe this will be the case this week as this president comes to continue to further pin neighbors against one another," Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR, said.

Among those welcoming the president are members of the Minneapolis Police Federation.

"I've had a ton of voicemails and the phone has been ringing pretty consistently all morning long," Emily Kokx said.

The union began selling "Cops for Trump" T-shirts just days after the police department banned officers from wearing their uniforms in support of political candidates. Union president Bob Kroll said he was told of the ban one day after Trump announced he would be coming to Target Center, and shortly after Mayor Jacob Frey said Trump was not welcome in the city.

Kroll said his members are upset about the policy, noting that in the past officers were allowed to wear their uniforms when former presidents Clinton and Obama visited the Twin Cities. He adds that the $20 shirts have been selling fast.

"I think they should be able to wear their uniforms," Mike Blowers, who bought a shirt Monday morning, said. "I just wanted to stop in and support the police officers and what they're doing. Hopefully it goes to a good cause."

Whether people are for President Trump or against him, the anticipation of the rally at has both sides eager to let him know how they feel.

"I've never seen him in person. I'm excited to feel the electricity from his speeches and basically be a part of a somewhat historic event of him actually being in the Twin Cities," said Chase Christopherson. The University of Minnesota sophomore joined other supporters at a volunteer training event in Anoka, where My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell gave the crowd a pump-up speech.

Lisa Schneegans was in the crowd as well and plans on volunteering as an usher at Thursday's rally.

"I think it's really important for (Trump) to go into the inner city because that's really where we have to win hearts and minds," she said. "And once that he shows that he's ready to take on the belly of the beast I think it's gonna be a huge thing for the campaign.

Some living in the inner city have already made up their minds and plan to peacefully protest the event, but they're concerned that militia and anti-Muslim groups will also be there in support of Trump.

"We believe this will be the case this week as this president comes to continue to further pin neighbors against one another," said Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of CAIR Minnesota.

As far as security goes for the rally, law enforcement officials say they will be treating this like a large-scale, all-hands-on-deck event. And businesses close to Target Center plan on adding more security as well. The rally is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence will visit Minnesota on the same day. According to Politico, Pence will stop at an undetermined location in the 2nd Congressional District, which is currently represented by Democratic Congresswoman Angie Craig.

The stop is part of a national tour of congressional districts that are represented by Democrats. Pence's first stop is scheduled for Wednesday in southwest Iowa.

The tour comes as an impeachment inquiry ramps up against Trump.

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