Clad in a hunting jacket and baggy pants which he later said concealed multiple loaded weapons, conservative rocker Ted Nugent took the stage Sunday night at a Donald Trump rally carrying an electric guitar and a camouflage “Make America Great Again” hat.
“No shit,” the National Rifle Association board member began after playing through the Star Spangled Banner in Sterling Heights, Michigan, to raucous applause. “God bless the real Michigan.”
“Is the real Michigan the majority still? Is the real Michigan ready to take Michigan back?” Nugget asked to cheers, before launching into a 30-minute, off-the-cuff speech that featured riffs on the state’s industrial work ethic, gun rights, hunting and a handful of cutting attacks on local politicians.
The Trump campaign has made an unusual push to turn the reliably blue state red, as Michigan hasn’t voted for a Republican president since 1988. Trump’s rally Sunday took place in Macomb County, home to predominately white, working class suburbs of Detroit that have been receptive to the candidate’s message.
Nugent hammered that message home.
“I’m here because I was born and raised to be a productive American in the asset column, by that spirit of real Michigan,” he said. “We must not let it get lumped in with California and Illinois and New York and New Jersey and Maryland and Massachusetts.”
“I’ve got your blue state right here baby!” Nugent cried, grabbing his crotch. “Black and blue!”
When he took the stage after Nugent, Trump mocked Hillary Clinton for a Friday rally that featured Jay Z and Beyonce, seemingly forgetting his own off-color opening act.
“By the way, my language is much much cleaner, as you know, than Jay Z and Beyonce” he said, before referring to his own rally. “You know the beauty of this crowd? It’s without a guitar.”
“The other stuff is demeaning to what we all represent. It’s demeaning,” he said.