In Michigan Visit, Trump Forgoes Criticism and Talks About the Economy and the Flood


WASHINGTON — A day after threatening to withhold federal funding from Michigan, President Trump visited a Ford plant in Ypsilanti and held his fire, delivering a re-election pitch for himself in a battleground state where his campaign advisers have become increasingly concerned that his support is declining.

The president toured the factory, where the auto manufacturer has been producing ventilators and personal protective equipment, and then delivered remarks in front of red, white and blue Ford trucks. He told reporters he was “not going to discuss” what funds he was referring to.

Instead, Mr. Trump talked about the reopening of the country, promising an economic surge built on “pent-up demand.” He said he wanted to start holding campaign rallies again “sooner rather than later,” despite the thousands of new Covid-19 cases still being identified each day in the United States and the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths expected in the coming days.

“I think we’re going to do better the second time, and it’s important that we win the second time,” Mr. Trump said at what was ostensibly an official presidential event. “It’s important that we win the second time.”

In fact, some national polls show Mr. Trump trailing former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee, in Michigan by up to six points. And in a recent poll commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber, 63 percent of Michigan voters approved of Ms. Whitmer’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, compared with just 43 percent who approved of the job Mr. Trump is doing.

The split was on display outside the factory, where several hundred supporters and protesters gathered before the president’s visit.

Denise O’Connell, 59, a retired hospital IT worker, said she came to express her distrust of Ms. Whitmer as much as her support for the president. “We’ve got a tyrannical wench running our state,” she said. “It hurts me that so many people just think Trump is a bad guy. I think he was elected to lead at this particular time.”

Annie Karni

2020-05-21 19:50:45

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