'Catholics for Trump' event set for March 19 in Milwaukee postponed due to coronavirus

MILWAUKEE -- President Donald Trump's scheduled "Catholics for Trump" event scheduled for March 19 at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee was postponed Wednesday, March 11 due to coronavirus.

Catholics have been on the winning side of presidential elections since 1976. They voted for the winner in each race except when they went for Al Gore. FOX6 News is told 91,000 Catholics in Wisconsin who go to church are not registered to vote.

President Trump won Wisconsin by less than 23,000 votes in 2016.

"We're a somewhat more Catholic state than some of the other states in America, and generally, if you're a politician, you want to grab groups of voters," said Mordecai Lee, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. "In other words, you're in the wholesale business. You can't just pick up one voter at a time,"

The Pew Forum found one out of four Wisconsinites are Catholics.

Wisconsin Center District

Democratic Party of Wisconsin's Philip Schulman said the president should not visit.

"He and the vice president, who are supposed to be leading the fight against the coronavirus, to take their focus elsewhere, where it shouldn't be," Schulman said.

Vice President Mike Pence (Photo: McNamee/Getty Images)

Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday the campaign was making decisions on a day-to-day basis.

"I'm very confident that the campaign will take the very best information and make the very best decision going forward," Pence said.

Pence was scheduled to campaign in Wisconsin the same day as President Trump.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki's message to Catholics

Archbishop Jerome Listecki

Meanwhile, Archbishop Jerome Listecki said Wednesday the Catholic Church would not be hosting or sponsoring the event. His complete statement to Catholics is as follows:

"To the Faithful of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee,

"You may have heard of the upcoming “Catholics for Trump” rally to be held on March 19, 2020 at the Wisconsin Center. Thank you to the number of Catholics who have reached out to the archdiocese, inquiring about the nature of this rally. In light of this, I would like to make clear two very important facts, and I ask that you share this information with your communities.

"First, the “Catholics for Trump” rally is an event that is hosted by President Donald Trump. The event is not hosted by the Catholic Church nor the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the local church of southeastern Wisconsin.
Second, the Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee are not endorsing the rally and are in no way affiliated to or sponsoring this event or campaign locally, statewide, or nationally.

"As Catholics, we bring the richness of our faith to the public square. Catholic citizens are encouraged by the Church to participate in public life and contribute to the common good, including through the political process of our country. However, I would like to take this opportunity to remind the Faithful that the Catholic Church is not a political organization, nor is it politically affiliated. The mission of the Church is religious, not political. For reasons that are both theological and legal, the Church’s involvement in public life does not extend to endorsing candidates for election to public office nor calling for their defeat.

"The Catholic Church seeks to uphold and protect justice, equality, human rights, and care for God’s creation through ethical and moral decision-making. The manner in which Catholics vote is entirely guided by a well-formed conscience, a well-informed mind, and a prayerful disposition guided by the Holy Spirit."