Trump campaigns for Tim Michels, bashes Kleefisch and Vos during visit to Wisconsin
WAUKESHA Wis. (CBS) -- Donald Trump praised his endorsed candidate in the Republican primary race for governor Tim Michels while bashing his rival opponent saying she can't defeat incumbent Gov. Tony Evers.
At the Waukesha County Fairgrounds, the former president returned to Wisconsin for the first time since leaving the White House to headline an event for Michels who's locked in a close race with former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.
"Rebecca Kleefisch does not have what it takes to beat Tony Evers," Trump said. "Evers is close to incompetent, but he's going to win if he runs against Rebecca."
It comes as there's a clear split among the Republican Party over which candidate to support -- either the Scott Walker era of politics or the anti-establishment party that aligns with Trump.
Michels, a construction company co-owner, has a slight lead in limited polling and touted his support from Trump in the final days before Tuesday's primary.
The former president also took to the stage to peddle misinformation about the 2020 election, including slamming Assembly Speaker Robin Vos for not embracing his top priority of decertifying the election results in Wisconsin.
"He keeps saying he won't let it happen again…fire Robin Vos!" Trump told hundreds of supporters.
Vos launched an investigation into the 2020 election led by former Supreme Court Justice Michel Gableman and helped pass a series of election bills this year which were vetoed by Gov. Evers. Despite his efforts, Trump has consistently bullied Vos in a series of statements for not doing enough to revoke Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes cast for Joe Biden.
Earlier this week, Trump endorsed Adam Steen who's running against Vos in an attempt to oust Wisconsin's longest serving Assembly Speaker. Steen has supported Trump's mission to decertify even though legal, constitutional experts and Vos have said it is not possible.
During his speech, Michels did not address decertification. Instead, he pushed for election integrity measures, a common theme talked about on the campaign trail by each Republican candidate in the race.
"We should not even be having this conversation 21 months after the election," Michels said. "Was it rigged - was it fixed - I'm going to stop it."
It comes after Michels has reversed his position in recent days on efforts to overturn the election. Earlier this month Michels said he "needed to see the details" regarding signing legislation to decertify the election, then saying it's "not a priority" to "everything is on the table," during a governor's debate.
Trump's visit comes days after former Vice President Mike Pence in Pewaukee to stump for Kleefisch.
The trips highlight how both campaigns are trying to appease voters in the Milwaukee suburbs - also known as the WOW counties, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington, areas Republicans have struggled to perform in recent elections.
The primary will be held on Aug. 9th.