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Trump hits campaign trail in swing states Michigan, Wisconsin

By AFP - Apr 03,2024 - Last updated at Apr 03,2024

GREEN BAY, United States — Donald Trump aims to jumpstart his campaign on Tuesday with back-to-back rallies in Michigan and Wisconsin, two crucial states in his bid to defeat President Joe Biden in November’s election.

The former Republican president has held just one major rally — long his signature campaign event — since his rematch with Biden was all but confirmed nearly three weeks ago, and he wants to end any speculation that he is slowing down.

“PLENTY TO TALK ABOUT. MAGA2024!” Trump said in a Truth Social post announcing his Midwestern swing, which is set to begin in Michigan’s Great Lakes region with a focus on “Biden’s border bloodbath” on the frontier with Mexico.

Trump regularly uses extreme rhetoric to criticize his rival’s border policies, with immigration always high on the list of US voter concerns.

The “bloodbath” phrase is seen as one of the latest illustrations of Trump’s increasingly incendiary messaging, prompting fears over the potential for violence among his supporters.

Previously he has accused migrants of “poisoning the blood” of the country, and claimed there would be a “bloodbath” if he is not elected, although he later claimed that he was talking figuratively about the auto industry.

If the programme announced for Tuesday is anything to go by, Trump looks set to double down on his aggressive language about migrants in particular — even in a state that is some 3,219 km from the Mexican border.

The Democratic National Committee issued a statement Tuesday in response, calling Trump out for pressuring Republicans in Congress to tank a cross-party deal that would have secured the most stringent border security measures in a generation -- and defused the issue as a hot-button election talking point.

“While President Biden worked across the aisle to find a bipartisan solution to secure our border, Trump directed MAGA Republicans to block the toughest, fairest border deal in decades — putting his own political ambitions ahead of border security,” it said, referring to Trump’s hard-right Make America Great Again movement.


Swing states 


Trump’s afternoon rally will be held in Grand Rapids, where he closed out his successful 2016 campaign, winning Michigan on the way to claiming the keys to the White House.

Biden flipped the state back to Democratic in 2020, but he risks losing the support of a 200,000-strong Arab-American community that has denounced his support for Israel’s military offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

Polls currently have Trump in the lead, although the election is still likely to come down to the wire.

It is also predicted to be tight in neighboring Wisconsin, where Trump is set to begin his second rally just hours later.

Like Michigan, Trump won the Midwestern state in 2016, only to lose it to Biden in 2020. Polls suggest Wisconsin, famous for dairy farmers and other rural voters, will be one of the closest 2024 races.


Campaign war chests 


Biden has been on a blitz through the swing states in recent weeks, visiting Wisconsin and Michigan as well as Arizona, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

On Thursday, he raised more than $25 million at an event in New York -- a huge boost in a country where presidential campaigns can cost billions of dollars.

Biden holds a widening lead over his Republican rival in the fundraising stakes, while Trump is burning through money as he pays legal bills to battle multiple criminal and civil court cases.

Trump posted a $175 million bond on Monday in his New York civil fraud case, pausing collection of the more than $500 million awarded against him in damages and interest and preventing the state from seizing his assets pending an appeal.

He is due to hold a fundraising event from his luxury Florida home on Saturday.

But after that, any momentum he may have created could stall again. His first criminal trial begins on April 15, as he faces charges of falsifying business records in making hush money payments to a porn star on the eve of the 2016 election.


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