JANESVILLE, Wis. — No sacred Wisconsin cow was spared from the derision of Donald Trump and his supporters during the Republican presidential frontrunner's first Wisconsin town hall — that is, except for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Trump spent much of his hour-long speech, delivered Tuesday evening at the Janesville Conference Center in a Holiday Inn Express, mocking Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. But although it was a crowd composed mostly of self-identified conservatives, the audience booed Walker at the first mention of his name.
The real estate mogul made fun of Walker's fondness for Harley-Davidson gear, insisting that the "motorcycle guys" are Trump supporters.
"He doesn't look like a motorcycle guy to me. I'm sorry," Trump said of Walker, before asking the crowd why the motorcycle guys love him.
"'Cause you don't take any shit!" one person yelled back.
Earlier Tuesday, Walker endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for the GOP nomination, pledging to campaign with Cruz in the days leading up to the April 5 primary election.
Trump used that as an opportunity to knock both Walker and Cruz. He told the crowd there was no way Walker could have endorsed him after the way Trump outperformed him in the presidential race.
"Ted Cruz likes to pretend he’s an outsider," Trump said. "In the meantime he gets all the establishment support, including your governor."
He also mentioned several times that Walker had previously met with him, and that he had donated money to one of the governor's campaigns. He could have been borrowing a page from the playbooks of liberal groups that have pointed out the same thing throughout the week.
Trump said Wisconsin is an "incredible place, but it's a place that has problems." He briefly mentioned House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Janesville native, asking the crowd how they liked him. The question was met with boos, which Trump said "surprised" him.
As president, Trump pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act, make government more efficient, get rid of Common Core educational standards, preserve Second Amendment gun rights and protect Christianity.
He promised once again to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and make Mexico pay for it. And his mention of a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country was met with cheers.
Those issues resonated with David Webb, of Milton, who waved a large Confederate flag past a crowd of protesters outside the event.
"Get the illegals out. Secure the borders," Webb said when asked what he hoped to communicate with the flag.
Webb said he'd be civil as long as the anti-Trump protesters remained civil. Aariela Steele, of Pleasant Prairie, also preached civility as she held a "Love Trumps Hate" sign.
Steele said she came to the event to protest Trump and promote love.
Not far from her stood Leslie Spears, who drove from Spring Grove, Illinois, to hear Trump speak because protests shut down a rally planned earlier this month in Chicago.
Spears held a sign depicting her two cats as "Cats 4 Trump." She joked that they want him to offer the country fiscal sanity so she can afford to buy them toys.
"I’ve voted for Republicans all my life. I’ve got nothing to show for it," she said.
David Bell, of Libertyville, Illinois, also planned to attend the Chicago rally before "liberal fascists" shut it down. A Trump supporter, Bell said he attended the 1968 Democratic convention and voted for President Barack Obama in 2008.
"The modern liberal party has morphed into a bunch of lunatic left fascists," Bell said.
Not everyone in attendance was on board with the negativity toward Walker and Ryan. Mark Madson, of Clinton, said he believes Walker has changed the state for the better with his efforts to rein in public employee benefits.
Madson, sporting a "Make America Great Again" t-shirt, chatted with Janesville's Chuck Lechner after the event.
Lechner, a self-described independent, said he showed up an undecided voter and left a Trump supporter. Lechner said Ryan is the "most liberal conservative" he's ever heard of. Asked about Walker, Lechner responded, "F--- Walker."
While he's "iffy" on Trump's plans to tighten border security, Lechner said he likes that the candidate is self-funded.
"Maybe he's our last hope," Lechner said.
According to Janesville police, 1,000 people attended the rally while 1,000 supporters and protesters gathered outside.
Police were looking for two suspects after an incident involving a reported sexual assault outside the conference center.
"A 15 year girl from Janesville was peppered sprayed in the crowd by a non-law enforcement person. A 19 year old woman from Madison received 2nd hand spray as well. Both individuals received medical attention at local hospitals. A male in the crown groped the 15 year girl, when she pushed him away; another person in the crown sprayed her," according to a police statement.
Hours before the rally, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was charged with misdemeanor battery for allegedly grabbing a reporter at a rally earlier this month in Florida.
Trump brought up the incident during Tuesday's event, mocking the reporter and suggesting Lewandowski had grabbed her in an effort to protect Trump from a threat.
Urging voters to support him, Trump said a win in Wisconsin could "put an end to all this stupidity."
"I'm going to Green Bay. I love that team by the way. You have a great quarterback. He's probably endorsing somebody else," Trump said.
Given Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' previous denunciation of anti-Muslim remarks, Trump was probably right about that.