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Biden lauds new Microsoft center on the same site where Trump’s Foxconn project failed

STURTEVANT, Wis. (AP) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday, Donald Trump was confronted with a failed project under the previous administration, which was expected to create thousands of new jobs in southeastern Wisconsin and under his leadership announced new economic investments coming to the same location.

That location in the battleground state will now be the site of a new data center from Microsoft, which the president has credited to the Biden administration’s economic policies for paving the way for new investments. For Biden, it offered another point of contrast between him and Trump, who had promised a $10 billion investment from Taiwan-based electronics giant Foxconn that was never delivered.

“In fact, he came here with your senator, Ron Johnson, literally holding a golden shovel, promising to build the eighth wonder of the world. Are you kidding me?’” Biden told a crowd of about 300 people, who clapped and cheered loudly as he spoke. “Look what happened. They dug a hole with these golden shovels , then they fell in.

Noting that 100 homes were destroyed to make way for the project, which wasted hundreds of millions of dollars, Biden added a dig: “Foxconn turned out to be just that: a scam.” Go figure.”

Biden was in Sturtevant, Racine County, to promote the $3.3 billion Microsoft data center, which the Democratic president said will employ about 2,300 union construction workers to build it and then 2,000 permanent employees to staff it.

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Brad Smith, President of Microsoft said in an interview with The Associated Press that Microsoft had a “strong commitment to underpromise and overdeliver” and praised the Biden administration and the state’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers, for economic policies which paved the way for the developments announced on Wednesday. .

But Biden was eager to take credit and take the opportunity to repeatedly take jabs at Trump, arguing that his would-be Republican challenger had embraced the same type of “economic fallout” that Biden abhorred and did not had failed to revive the domestic manufacturing industry during his four years in power. the White House.

“My friends, under the previous administration, my predecessor made promises, which he more than kept, leaving a lot of people behind in communities like Racine,” Biden said. “Under my leadership, we make promises and we keep our promises. »

Trump’s campaign has not addressed Foxconn, but the former Republican president often says the economy was in a much better position when he was in office and will be again if he wins in 2024. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Whatley said Biden’s trip was an attempt. to “save face in Racine County as Wisconsinites feel the pain of Bidenomics.”

“Manufacturing is at a standstill, family farms are closing, and the costs of everything from electricity and gas to food and housing are rising,” Whatley said. “It’s no wonder Biden is losing in Wisconsin and in battleground states across the country: His policies have failed and people want President Trump back in office.”

Foxconn, meanwhile, said its current operations in Wisconsin “contribute greatly” to the company, which has invested about $1 billion in the state and now employs more than 1,000 people at Foxconn Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Bryan Steil, who represents the district Biden was visiting on Wednesday, said Microsoft’s announcement was good for workers. But Steil said Biden was using it to hide his record of failing to control rising inflation and said Biden was taking credit for private sector work in the region that began years ago ten years, largely for the Foxconn project.

As for Trump, he was back in Florida on his day off. his secret trial in New York on Wednesday, meeting at his Mar-a-Lago club with people who, as part of a promotion, purchased digital trading card NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, according to a person familiar with the matter who did not was not authorized to discuss it publicly. The “MugShot Edition” NFTs featured images of Trump as a cowboy, with lightning bolts coming from his hands, marching in front of the U.S. Capitol and taking Lincoln’s place at the Lincoln Memorial.

Later, Biden met with about 50 black supporters and volunteers at a community center in nearby Racine, emphasizing that he first got into politics “because of the African-American community.”

He also briefly outlined the stakes in the election, warning of the potential risk to democracy and Trump’s threats to “get rid of everything we’ve done.”

Racine County is a critical location. All but five of the 33 winning presidential candidates have worn it. Trump is one of the five. He won Racine County but lost the election. Biden was the first Democrat since 1976 to win Wisconsin without winning Racine County.

The race is expected to be close in Wisconsin, where four of the last six presidential elections have been decided by less than a percentage point. Biden won by just under 21,000 votes in 2020. A recent Marquette University poll showed that Republican voters in Wisconsin are slightly more enthusiastic about the election than Democrats.

Biden also traveled to Chicago on Wednesday for a fundraiser, telling his donors that he doesn’t think polls showing low approval ratings for him are accurate. But he used the event to further attack Trump, a sign that he believes the November election hinges on what people think of his predecessor, and not necessarily Biden’s own record.

Biden’s trip to Wisconsin — his fourth of the year and 11th as president — came as his re-election also boosted his outreach to minority voters on the airwaves. He announced the launch of a new $14 million digital and television blitz that follows the $30 million effort launched after his State of the Union address early March.

One of the new ads in the latest ad campaign focuses on Trump’s unsuccessful but determined attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. A significant portion of the $14 million campaign that begins Wednesday will be aimed at Black and Hispanic media, as well as Asian American print and radio, according to the campaign.

By the end of May, Biden’s reelection effort will have more than 200 offices and about 500 staffers in place, according to Dan Kanninen, the campaign’s battleground director. Those numbers include offices located in areas that have traditionally not seen investment from Democrats, including pockets of Michigan, Arizona and North Carolina.

As Microsoft accelerates the construction of AI-powered data centers around the world, “this one is more important than many others because there is more land and, ultimately, access to electricity available,” said Smith, who as a child lived in the area where the center is being built.

However, once up and running, even the most powerful data centers typically employ a relatively small group of full-time employees to oversee them. Microsoft will have about 500, drawn from highly skilled workers in the corridor between Milwaukee and Chicago, Smith said.


Kim reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Michelle L. Price in New York, Scott Bauer in Wisconsin and Matt O’Brien in Providence, Rhode Island, contributed to this report.

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