MARINETTE (Wisconsin) • US President Donald Trump, trailing in the opinion polls ahead of the Nov 3 election, visited a shipbuilding facility in Wisconsin to tout his record on manufacturing and shore up support in the politically crucial state.
Mr Trump went on Thursday to Fincantieri Marinette Marine, a naval construction company in Marinette, after making an initial stop in Green Bay to take part in a town hall meeting with Fox News.
The US Navy in April awarded Italy’s Fincantieri a US$5.5 billion (S$7.6 billion) contract to build its newest class of warships known as frigates, something Mr Trump lauded in a post on Twitter as he arrived in the Mid-western state.
Former vice-president Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, leads Mr Trump in every one of six key battleground states.
The New York Times/Siena College poll of swing states, together with national polls, show Mr Biden with a double-digit lead.
Mr Biden leads Mr Trump by 10 percentage points in Pennsylvania and 11 in Michigan and Wisconsin, reclaiming the three “blue wall” states that Mr Trump broke through to beat Mrs Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Mr Biden also leads in three other states thought to be more reliably Republican, including Florida by 6 points, Arizona by 7 points and North Carolina by 9 points.
The Republican President has come under pressure for his responses to the coronavirus pandemic and to civil rights protests across the country. Advisers want him to focus on his economic record before the pandemic and convince voters that he is best placed to bring the country back to economic strength.
At the shipyard, Mr Trump said the future of the facility had looked bleak not long ago, but “then a lot of good things came along”.
“Manufacturing, remember, manufacturing was never going to come back. Well it did come back. It came back big,” he said.
However, Mr Biden, who travelled to Pennsylvania on the same day, said Mr Trump did not deserve credit for the success of the area he was visiting.
“Today, Donald Trump is in Marinette to take credit for Obama-Biden administration-fuelled successes in an attempt to paper over the fact that Wisconsin has been bleeding blue-collar manufacturing jobs over the past few weeks,” he said in a statement.
“Instead of offering real relief to working families, he’s trying to claim credit for progress in Marinette he did not build.”
… then a lot of good things came along. Manufacturing, remember, manufacturing was never going to come back. Well it did come back. It came back big.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, campaigning at a naval construction company in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is one of a handful of states that Mr Trump’s advisers have focused on as part of his re-election strategy, along with Michigan, Pennsylvania and, increasingly, Arizona, which the President visited on Tuesday.
The two trips this week have been official, White House-led trips rather than campaign-sponsored ones, but the choice of states was not coincidental.
Mr Trump’s official return to the campaign trail last Saturday in Oklahoma drew attention for the underwhelming size of the crowd, spurring officials to rethink his signature rallies.