Early this morning I received a media advisory from the Trump campaign inviting me to attend a volunteer appreciation event with former Acting Director of National Intelligence and Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. The event was scheduled over the lunch hour at the Trump campaign office in the Minneapolis suburb of Wayzata.
I was the only journalist in attendance and snagged a few minutes with Grenell on his way out the door after the event thanks to RNC press officer Preya Samsundar and regional desk coordinator Molly Safreed. Molly kindly snapped the photo of me with Grenell below in the office where we spoke.
These are my observations and takeaways:
• The event was packed. It was standing room only. Republican grassroots volunteers are fired up for Trump.
• Grenell is a rock star with grassroots Trump supporters because of his declassification of documents in the Russia hoax. He is a high value campaign asset.
• He told me he had been dispatched to Minnesota after three days in Michigan and two days in Pennsylvania. I infer that the Trump campaign thinks it can win Minnesota. It is making a final push to do so. I am dubious, but I hope they’re right. They came within 44,000 votes in 2016 and the feeling outside the Twin Cities is running high in favor of President Trump.
• The feeling is also running high in the Twin Cities, but in the wrong direction. However, Grenell wouldn’t be here if senior Trump campaign officials didn’t think they can take Minnesota. Biden should have Minnesota buttoned up at this point and he does not.
• GOP Senate candidate Jason Lewis introduced Grenell. He is running against incumbent Tina Smith, a generic Democrat and cipher if there ever was one. Jason is within striking distance (i.e., within the margin of error of the most recent public poll). It should be a winnable race. Contribute to Jason’s campaign here.
• I asked Grenell what he made of the former intelligence officials who issued the statement on the purported Hunter Biden “Russia hoax” that I referred to this morning in “Who’s Toobin who.” First he emphasized that they were “former.” He added that, having promoted the Clinton campaign Russia hoax, they have no credibility and should not be called upon to comment.