Politics Trump seeks to energize rural voters key to 2016 success in Wisconsin campaign rally
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WASHINGTON – Presidentwho were key to his success four years ago with a rally in central Wisconsin on Thursday, announcing an additional $13 billion package of relief for farmers hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Kicking off three days of campaigning, Trump spoke to supporters in an airport hangar in Mosinee, Wisconsin, as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden took part in a CNN town hall – setting up a split screen moment with both candidates on stage.
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"Many farmers in this group? Because you've got to love Trump," the president asserted. "You know the farmers have had a very good year."
Trump did not discuss details of the funding but indicated it was part of a broader package approved by Congress earlier this year to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The president also continued to defend his response to the virus.
But on the flight to Wisconsin, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters the president would not attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week – a shift caused by the fact that most world leaders are expected to record messages for the meeting instead of attending in person during the pandemic.
Trump won Wisconsin by less than 1 percentage point in 2016. Polls show Biden with a single-digit advantage. Trump was campaigning in a GOP stronghold.
Trump heats up culture war in appeal to Wisconsin voters
MOSINEE, Wis. (AP) — President Donald Trump stepped up his rhetoric Thursday on cultural issues, aiming to boost enthusiasm among rural Wisconsin voters as he tries to repeat his path to victory four years ago. Making his fifth visit to the pivotal battleground state this year, Trump views success in the state’s less-populated counties as critical to another term. He held a rally Thursday evening in Mosinee, in central Wisconsin, an area of the state that shifted dramatically toward Republicans in 2016, enabling Trump to overcome even greater deficits in urban and suburban parts of the state.
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"He's beholden to no one," said Bob Koenecke, who drove 200 miles from his home in Burlington to see Trump for the first time. "He's not part of the deep state. I don't know, I just trust him. He's one of us."
Most of the president's remarks held closely to his usual rally script: He attacked Biden as "grossly incompetent" and said Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris was trying to come "through the back door" into the presidency.
But Trump also returned to agriculture-heavy themes, revisiting a provision of the 2017 tax bill that expanded the estate tax exemption that makes it easier for farmers to pass on farms to survivors. Trump touted tariffs he said benefited the state's dairy farmers and timber industry. He also criticized Biden for calling for limits on fracking.
Trump is set to hold rallies in Minnesota on Friday and North Carolina on Saturday – all at airports.schedule in recent weeks, but the pandemic has forced many of those events outdoors or in airport hangars. Most of his supporters have declined to wear masks or practice social distancing.
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Contributing: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
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