Trump Defends Herbster Over Groping Allegations at Sunday Rally
By Will Bauer, Reporter/Producer Nebraska Public Media
May 2, 2022, 5 a.m. ·
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Donald Trump spoke for 1 hour and 45 minutes Sunday evening, where a few thousand Nebraskans gathered near Greenwood’s I-80 Speedway to hear the former president and Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster.
Despite Trump coming to Nebraska to rally support for Herbster in the governor’s race, the former president spent most of the time criticizing President Joe Biden or touting his administration’s work.
When Trump did speak about Herbster, one of the leading candidates in the race for Nebraska’s highest office, Trump spent a majority of the time pushing back on allegations Herbster groped eight women.
"Charles is a fine man, and he's innocent of these despicable charges," Trump said. "By the way, Charles, welcome to politics."
Herbster also repeated his denials during the rally. Throughout the event, Herbster’s team played a number of television advertisements, which take aim at the women’s accusations.
The agri-businessman from Falls City did take time to pitch his conservative platform to the Nebraskans who came to watch. On border security, for example, Herbster made it clear to the crowd that he's a supporter of immigration – it just needs to be legal. He also listed a checklist for new immigrants.
"You need to honor God," Herbster said. "You need to honor our flag, and you need to learn to speak English," as the crowd erupted in applause.
Herbster largely spoke Sunday about several issues he’s long harped on in this governor’s race, including election integrity, keeping critical race theory out of Nebraska's schools and allowing prayer in public schools – among others. The Conklin Co. CEO also took aim at China.
"As your governor, China will not buy one acre of land in the state of Nebraska," he said.
And like rival candidate Jim Pillen, Herbster criticized the federal government’s role in pandemic response. "Dr. Fauci should be impeached," Herbster told the crowd.
My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell also spoke at the rally, repeating false claims the 2020 election was stolen. Kellyanne Conway, an advisor to the former president, did not make the trip to Greenwood Sunday afternoon but addressed the crowd in a recorded statement. Conway was set to speak Friday night, but Herbster and Trump postponed the event two days because of severe weather.
State Senators Steve Erdman of Bayard and Steve Halloran of Hastings also attended the rally. Erdman opened the day’s remarks, defending Herbster’s late payments on property taxes and criticisms that he doesn’t have children. He called upon the crowd to call or knock on their neighbors' doors and tell them about Herbster.
Trump, who endorsed Herbster late October, also criticized two of Nebraska’s congressional delegation: Senator Ben Sasse and Representative Don Bacon.
"Your state is very poorly represented by a grandstanding, little respected senator called Little Ben Sasse," Trump said.
And without giving an official endorsement, Trump also said he met Bacon’s primary challenger, Steve Kuehl.
"I think Steve will probably do a lot better than people would anticipate, and I hear he's working very hard," Trump said. "So good luck. Good luck, Steve. whoever the hell you are."
Herbster and his eight other primary challengers in the governor's race will see how much weight Trump and his endorsement carry in the state's primaries, which will be held next Tuesday.