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Donald Trump Works To Expand Reach In Democratic Leaning States


Donald Trump is also trying to expand his reach into states that tend to go blue. He's in Michigan today. NPR's Sarah McCammon is traveling with the Trump campaign, and she's on the line from Warren, Mich. Hi, Sarah.


SHAPIRO: I hear that crowd chanting behind you. How much is Donald Trump talking about Hillary Clinton's emails at his rallies today?

MCCAMMON: You know, Ari, this is something that's really revving up his crowds and Donald Trump himself. He's been talking about this since the news broke. He's using these revelations to reiterate and highlight what he's been saying all along. Remember; he's been calling his rival Crooked Hillary for months, and he says that these revelations really underscore that. So today in Grand Rapids, Mich., he accused her of lying and, you know, predicted that nothing good can come out of this investigation for her.


DONALD TRUMP: We can be sure that what is in those emails is absolutely devastating, and I think we're going to find out by the way for the first time.

MCCAMMON: Trump is arguing that electing Hillary Clinton would open up the country to what he described as a constitutional crisis because of the possibility that there could be something untoward in those emails. Of course we don't know what's there. But Trump is raising the specter of a criminal trial for a sitting president.

SHAPIRO: He's been trailing pretty consistently in polls. Do you have any sense of whether this latest incident is likely to change that?

MCCAMMON: Yeah, I mean the campaign certainly feels that way. His campaign manager Kellyanne Conway has gone from acknowledging that he's trailing Clinton in the polls to predicting that he will win. Trump has been sounding more upbeat in stops over the weekend and today, just today using phrases like, when we win.

And the crowds seem revved up, too. Talking to people here, they feel like this is going to boost his chances. You're hearing chants of lock her up even before the rally, you know, kicks off. And even though he does trail in a lot of recent polls, there just seems to be a confidence and an excitement around the campaign right now.

I'm overhearing excited talk today from Trump supporters about what the inauguration will be like, you know - so already vividly imagining a Trump presidency. It remains to be seen, though, how much this actually changes the state of the race.

SHAPIRO: Now, as we mentioned, this rally is taking place in Michigan, which is a state that's recently voted Democratic in presidential races. Why is the Trump campaign there?

MCCAMMON: Yeah, Ari, I mean on the face of it, it does seem like a surprising strategy. Trump is several points behind Hillary Clinton in most recent polls in these places. But he is, I should note, spending time this week as well in places like Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania that are, you know, a bit more of a battleground in reality.

And he has a narrow path to victory. If you look at just about any battleground map, Trump needs to win as many states as he possibly can if he wants to have any shot at winning the presidency. So he - you know, it looks like he's casting a wider net going to places like Michigan here, like Wisconsin, the upper-Midwest, places where he hopes that his economic themes will especially resonate.

And he's painting a picture of a country where, you know, if Hillary Clinton is elected president, he says she'll be distracted by investigations or maybe worse and unable to tackle issues like trade that people in these places really care about.

SHAPIRO: That's NPR's Sarah McCammon traveling with the Trump campaign in Warren, Mich. Thanks a lot.

MCCAMMON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sarah McCammon worked for Iowa Public Radio as Morning Edition Host from January 2010 until December 2013.
Sarah McCammon
Sarah McCammon is a National Correspondent covering the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast for NPR. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion and reproductive rights, and the intersections of politics and religion. She's also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, podcasts and special coverage.