Trump Falsely Claims He Won Minnesota in 2016 and 2020

Former President Donald J. Trump, speaking Friday night in Minnesota, which he vowed to boycott if he lost there in 2020, falsely claimed that he had won the state twice, adding that it was in play for him in 2024.

“I thought we won it in 2016,” Mr. Trump said during a fund-raiser for the state’s Republican Party in St. Paul, Minn. “I know we won it in 2020.”

The last time a Republican presidential candidate won Minnesota was in 1972, when Richard M. Nixon carried the state.

Nevertheless, Mr. Trump, the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party who is seeking to avenge his loss to Joseph R. Biden Jr. four years ago, said that his campaign was adding the state to its “official expansion” of its electoral map.

Mr. Trump’s nearly 90-minute appearance at the party’s annual Lincoln Reagan dinner was another deviation from the usual campaign battlegrounds on a day off from his criminal trial in New York. Last Saturday, Mr. Trump held a rally in New Jersey, a state he lost by double digits in both 2016 and 2020. Earlier on Friday, his campaign announced that it would hold an event in the deep blue Bronx next week.

Mr. Trump used his speech in St. Paul to lean into a narrative that he stood for law and order, suggesting that he had played a critical role in quelling the riots in the state after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers in 2020.

“I saved your city,” Mr. Trump said, adding, “If you didn’t have me as president, you wouldn’t have Minneapolis today.”

Mr. Trump began his day at the high school graduation of his youngest son, Barron, in Florida, which the judge presiding over his trial in New York had given him the day off from court to attend. That did not stop him from lobbing further attacks at the judge, Juan M. Merchan, whom he falsely accused of denying his request to be excused.

“You know, for a while, the judge said, ‘You can’t go to your son’s graduation,’” Mr. Trump said.

Earlier on Friday, Minnesota’s Democratic governor, Tim Walz, assailed Mr. Trump over his false claims to a local television station that he had won the state in 2020. Mr. Walz, in an online broadcast, called Mr. Trump’s falsehoods “an affront to democracy.”

“He lost by over seven points,” Mr. Walz said. “And for him to crow that he thinks he has a chance, I remind folks, Joe Biden came closer in Texas than Donald Trump came in Minnesota.”

On Saturday, Mr. Trump will be a headliner again, at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Dallas, the ninth time that the former president, who has pledged to roll back restrictions on guns, has addressed the group.

Mr. Trump last spoke at the N.R.A.’s convention in 2022, in Houston, even as other politicians and musical acts were no-shows in the wake of the massacre of 19 children and two adults at an elementary school a few days earlier in Uvalde, Texas.

Jazmine Ulloa contributed reporting.

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