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Trump blasts Minnesota officials' move to limit attendance at Trump rally to 250

"Suppression. Interference with our first amendment rights," Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan wrote on Twitter.

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Keith Ellison
Keith Ellison
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Updated: October 30, 2020 - 10:56pm

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President Trump on Friday blasted Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and state Attorney General Keith Ellison — both Democrats — for limiting attendance at his upcoming rally in the state at 250 people.

"We have 25,000 people in Minnesota ... 25,000 people want to be there, and they say you can only have 250 people," Trump told reporters before departing the White House for a campaign swing in three Midwestern states. "They thought I'd cancel. I'm not canceling."

The rally was first planned for the Rochester airport, but Ellison demanded a "COVID preparedness plan" from officials of the City of Rochester, Olmsted County, and the Rochester airport, as well as the Republican National Committee. 

The campaign event was then moved to Dodge Center, but Ellison's office again demanded the Trump campaign and the owner of the building submit a COVID preparedness plan.

The Trump campaign, which re-branded the event the "Make America Great Again peaceful protest," moved the rally back to the airport.

"Thanks to the free speech-stifling dictates of Gov. Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison, only the first 250 people will be admitted," the campaign said in a statement late Thursday night. "Without question, Minnesota Democrats had hoped that the President would simply cancel the event, but he will not allow partisan politicians to deprive people of their First Amendment rights to gather peacefully to hear directly from the President of the United States."

"A spokesperson for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison also told KSTP no threats were made," the TV station reported. "'These are decisions they are making,' spokesperson John Stiles said. 'We never threaten anyone,' he added."

Stiles said Ellison's office asked the business owners for their COVID-19 preparedness plan, required by the state, but never heard back. He added that the office doesn't have the authority to cancel events.

Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan blasted Ellison and Waltz for suppressing the First Amendment right to free assembly.

"Suppression. Interference with our first amendment rights," she wrote on Twitter. "This is what Gov Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison are doing by abusing the power of their offices to block us from seeing our President!"