Trump visits battleground state of Wisconsin, touts manufacturing and military investment

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district MORE traveled to the battleground state of Wisconsin on Thursday, touring a shipyard in Marinette and highlighting his efforts to bring back manufacturing jobs and to invest in the U.S. military.

Trump toured the Fincantieri Marinette Marine on Thursday afternoon and viewed a model of a Navy ship being built there. He used his remarks, delivered outdoors, to highlight a federal contract worth up to $5.5 billion that was awarded to the shipyard to build the U.S. Navy Frigate FFG(X).

“Under this administration, you know that American workers like you are a national treasure,” Trump said during his roughly 30-minute remarks.

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Trump said that the contract would yield 9,000 additional jobs in Wisconsin through the supply chain, noting that the employees would be “so busy.” 

Trump touted the new ships as both a boon for Wisconsin and the U.S. Navy, noting his "colossal" investments in the U.S. military. He claimed the military had been “depleted” when he assumed office because of years of fighting “endless wars,” an ode to his effort to withdraw American troops from prolonged overseas conflicts like the war in Afghanistan.

“Through your sweat, skill and devotion, the workers of this shipyard will forge the future of the United States Navy,” Trump said. “You’ll fashion the ultimate symbol of American power and American prestige.” 

Trump’s trip to Wisconsin came as polls show him trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenNAACP seeks to boost Black voter turnout in six states Biden touts Trump saying Harris would be 'fine choice' for VP pick Kamala Harris: The conventional (and predictable) pick all along MORE in the state. A Marquette University poll released Wednesday found Biden with 49 percent of the vote and Trump with 41 percent. Trump narrowly carried the state during the 2016 election over Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNAACP seeks to boost Black voter turnout in six states California Dems back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden picks Harris as running mate MORE.

Before Trump visited the shipyard in Marinette, Trump stopped in Green Bay where he taped a town hall with Fox News host Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityQAnon supporter in Georgia heads into tight GOP runoff Sunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief Tennessee primary battle turns nasty for Republicans MORE. The segment is scheduled to air Thursday evening on Hannity’s show. 

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Trump also touched on the novel coronavirus briefly during his remarks at the shipyard in Marinette, calling it a “horrible virus” that “came from China” offering a rosy picture of the path to economic recovery.

The pandemic, which forced a nationwide shutdown, resulted in millions of job losses and thousands of business closures.

Trump has spoken optimistically about the recovery, particularly in the wake of a surprise jobs report that showed the United States gained jobs during the month of May. The state of the economy is viewed as a critical factor in Trump’s reelection effort.

“We’re going to have a great third quarter and we’re going to have a phenomenal next year,” Trump told the crowd on Thursday.  

Trump’s remarks came as states across the country are facing a surge of coronavirus infections after relaxing restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus so that businesses could reopen. Earlier Thursday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced the state would pause its efforts to reopen the economy amid an increase in cases and hospitalizations. Wisconsin is among states that have seen an increase in cases.

Trump, who has sought to downplay the threat from the virus, repeated his assertion that the U.S. has a large number of cases because of expanded testing capabilities and falsely claimed the country would have “no cases” if it didn’t test during his remarks in Wisconsin.

“We have the greatest testing program in the world we’re up to almost 30 million tests. that means we’re going to have more cases. If we didn’t want to test or if we didn’t test, we would have no cases, but we have cases because we test,” Trump told the crowd.