/Trump in Wisconsin: President boasts that hes rebuilding the military as polls show him losing ground to Biden

Trump in Wisconsin: President boasts that hes rebuilding the military as polls show him losing ground to Biden

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump used a Wisconsin shipyard as a backdrop Thursday to make the case that his administration is rebuilding the U.S. military from an “old” and “very tired” fighting force into one that will be “the ultimate symbol of American power and American prestige.”

Making his second visit this week to a crucial swing state in this fall’s election, Trump said that when he became president, the military’s equipment stockpile was “totally depleted.”

“We had the greatest people in the military, but they weren’t given the right equipment,” he said.

But Trump said his administration is investing in new military equipment to transform the nation’s fighting forces.

He cited a $5.5 billion federal contract recently awarded to Fincantieri Marinette Marine in northeastern Wisconsin as an example of how his administration is equipping the Navy with state-of-the-art gear needed “to take American justice to any foe.”

The contract calls for the company to build up to 10 guided missile frigates for the Navy, a deal that will keep Fincantieri’s employees working for the next two decades and lead to the hiring of about 1,000 new workers.

Trump toured the Fincantieri shipyard and viewed a model of the Navy ship that is under construction. Behind his entourage, a welder worked on the ship’s hull, showering sparks onto the concrete floor.

Trump said afterward that the new vessels will serve as “a 7,500-ton message to the world that American might is second to none.”

Trump’s visit to Wisconsin – his second this year – comes as polls show him losing ground to former Vice President Joe Biden in what is expected to be a crucial battleground state in this fall’s election.

Though not an official campaign trip, the events gave Trump an opportunity to appear before voters in a state that could be pivotal in deciding the winner in November.

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President Donald Trump calls out as he arrives on Air Force One.

Trump carried Wisconsin by less than a percentage point in 2016, a margin that helped give him an edge in the Electoral College and propelled him to the presidency. But a Marquette University Law School Poll released Wednesday showed Biden with an eight-point lead in this year’s presidential contest.

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President Donald Trump speaks during a visit to Fincantieri Marinette Marine, Thursday, June 25, 2020, in Marinette, Wis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Nationwide, the political landscape appears even more bleak for the president.

A New York Times/Siena College poll released Wednesday shows Trump trailing Biden by 14 points, the former vice president’s largest lead yet in any of the dozen national polls taken this month.

Trump is trying to regain his footing in the face of discouraging poll numbers and an underwhelming political rally last Saturday that found him speaking to a smaller-than-expected crowd in a half-empty arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Trump traveled Tuesday to the swing state of Arizona, where he surveyed a section of border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and fired up a crowd of young people at a campaign-like rally in a megachurch in Phoenix.

Trump also has made recent stops at other swing states, including Michigan and Pennsylvania, to showcase U.S. companies.

Contributing: Haley BeMiller of Green Bay Press-Gazette and Bill Glauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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