Despair at CDC after Trump influence: 'I have never seen morale this low'
Trump touts economic agenda in battleground Ohio
President Trump visited Ohio on Thursday for official and campaign business, targeting a battleground state where he finds himself in a tight race with presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Trump delivered brief campaign-style remarks at the airport in Cleveland and then traveled to Clyde to deliver a speech on his economic agenda at a Whirlpool plant, where he highlighted a new executive order intended to boost domestic drug manufacturing and revealed that he had signed a proclamation reimposing 10 percent aluminum tariffs on Canada.
He will cap off the trip with a closed-door fundraiser in Bratenahl before heading to his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., on Air Force One for the weekend.
"Three months from now, on Nov. 3, we will once again win the state of Ohio like we did last time," Trump said during his airport remarks, adding that a campaign adviser in the state told him he was doing "better than we did last time."
A RealClearPolitics average of Ohio polls shows Biden with a 2 percentage point lead over Trump, who won the state four years ago, beating Democrat Hillary Clinton by roughly 8 points.
The president's remarks on Thursday were mainly focused on the economy, once considered his greatest asset heading into the 2020 election. Instead, he attempted to contrast his ability to steward the nation through its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic with that of Biden.
Trump laid out six pledges as part of a would-be second term economic agenda. Some of the promises were broad, such as defeating COVID-19, prioritizing American workers and making the country "more prosperous and resilient than ever before."
He also vowed to turn the U.S. into a hub for medical and pharmaceutical supplies and use tariffs and other measures to boost American factories.
Trump expressed confidence that there would be a quick, V-shaped rebound from the coronavirus recession, which began in February, despite some economists warning that the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in some states has compromised the speed and trajectory of the recovery.
The president's trip came on the eve of the July jobs report from the Labor Department and amid ongoing negotiations between the White House and Congress on the next stimulus package. Earlier in the day, the Labor Department reported that for a 20th straight week, more than 1 millions Americans had filed for unemployment insurance, underscoring the persistent economic pain caused by the recession.
Thursday's remarks were at times explicitly political, even when Trump was speaking during the official White House events portion of the trip. During his Whirlpool address, Trump took shots at Biden for mixing up the names of specific states and declared that the former vice president and other Democrats want to "abolish basically the American dream."
Trump also accused the Obama administration of enacting policies damaging to American manufacturers, while touting a 2018 order through which he imposed a tariff on foreign-made washing machines that he said helped buoy companies like Whirlpool.
"For eight long years under [the] Obama-Biden administration, American factory workers received nothing but broken promises and brazen sellouts and lost jobs," Trump said.
His trip to the Buckeye State was partly overshadowed by news that Gov. Mike DeWine (R) tested positive for the coronavirus shortly before he was slated to meet the president at the airport in Cleveland. DeWine, who is experiencing no symptoms, was tested as part of regular protocol for those who come in close contact with the president.
Prior to Trump's arrival, Biden issued a statement accusing the president of trying to "paper over" Ohio's struggles with the pandemic.
"Trump may not want to answer to Ohioans for his failed leadership, but he cannot escape the consequences of his horrific mismanagement of this crisis that has led to more than 90,000 COVID-19 cases in Ohio and left too many workers out of a job and unable to make ends meet," Biden said.
As of Thursday, Ohio had recorded a total of 97,471 coronavirus cases and 3,618 deaths related to the virus as of Thursday, according to the Ohio Health Department. The state is averaging roughly 1,200 new cases per day. White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx this week privately expressed concerns about increasing cases in Ohio, among a number of other states and metro areas.
Thursday's sojourn to Ohio was Trump's latest to a 2020 battleground state as he looks to shore up his support while polls show him trailing Biden just three months from Election Day. It also underscores the degree to which Trump is playing defense and expending resources in a number of states he won in 2016.
The president last week traveled to Florida and Texas, two states that have become must-wins for Trump if he is to secure a second term. Vice President Pence has similarly made multiple trips in recent weeks to Florida and is scheduled to speak in Iowa this week, a state considered more reliably Republican.