On Monday, former Vice President and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden made his second campaign trip to Wisconsin, visiting the Wisconsin Aluminum foundry in the northeastern county of Manitowoc.
As President Trump campaigned in Wisconsin days earlier, speaking to a maskless crowd, Biden sported a mask and welcomed a small number of attendees and press to his speech at the foundry, where former President Barack Obama spoke in 2008 and eventually won the county.
Biden criticized Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, citing his decisions to hold large rallies that put participants at risk of contracting the virus and recent findings that the president intentionally downplayed the virus’ severity during the early stages of the outbreak.
“Trump panicked,” Biden said. “The virus was too big for him.”
As the U.S. surpassed 200,000 deaths related to COVID-19, Wisconsin also hit a substantial milestone over the weekend. The state has reported more than 100,000 infections and 1,200 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“I worry we’re risking becoming numb to the toll it has taken on us and our country and communities like this,” said Biden. “We can’t let that happen. We can’t lose the ability to feel the sorrow and the loss and the anger for so many lives lost.”
Biden also made an appeal to working-class voters, arguing Trump’s tax cuts and trade policies have hurt manufacturers.
“He sees the world from Park Avenue,” Biden stated. “I see it from where I grew up in a town like this, Scranton, Pennsylvania. A hard-[scrabble], hard working town, just like this and so many more across Wisconsin.”
Pledging to ensure that all voices will be listened to, Biden empathized with the struggles of working-class people during a time of economic uncertainty.
“I know many of you were frustrated, you’re angry,” Biden asserted. “You believed you weren’t being seen, respected or heard. I get it. It has to change. And I promise you this: It will change with me. You will be seen, heard and respected by me.”
Biden’s second visit to Wisconsin comes shortly after he appeared in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, which generated national media attention and widespread social unrest.
Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt reacted to Biden’s visit, stating the candidate is “desperately trying to reverse his eroding support amongst middle-class Americans.” The Chairman claimed Trump has a stronger record on trade, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
President Trump won Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016.
Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in Manitowoc County by more than 20 points in 2016. Mitt Romney won the county by only three points over Obama in 2012. Obama won the county in 2008.
A recent poll released last week by the Washington Post and ABC News found Biden leading Trump 52 percent to 46 percent among likely Wisconsin voters. A recent survey by Marquette University Law School found Biden leading Trump 47 percent to 43 percent.
Both results were within the polls’ margins of error.