Biden attacks Trump’s anti-immigrant ‘blood’ comments in Wisconsin visit

By Steve Holland

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden criticized presidential opponent Donald Trump’s recent anti-immigrant comments as he visited a Black-owned business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a state that may prove pivotal to the 2024 election.

“I don’t believe as the president, the former president, said again yesterday, that immigrants are polluting, polluting, our blood. The economy and our nation is stronger when we’re tapping the full range of talents in this nation,” he said.

Trump has referred to immigrants “poisoning” the blood of America in recent speeches, using language that echoes the racial and eugenics rhetoric of Nazi Germany, prompting critics to condemn political xenophobia and racism.

“Everyone deserves a fair shot,” Biden said, in remarks during a visit to the Milwaukee Black Chamber of Commerce to discuss what the White House called a boom in Black-owned small businesses.

Biden repeated a familiar refrain on the economy, saying when “the middle class does well and we all do well.”

“That’s what we call Bidenomics,” he said.

Biden first stopped by Hero Plumbing, a Black-owned small business that removes lead pipes in Milwaukee. After chatting with Hero founder and owner Rashawn Spivey, Biden gave him a ride to the event site in his presidential limousine.

Biden’s visit reflected an effort to bolster support from Black voters ahead of what his campaign team is expecting to be a tough battle for re-election.

Biden’s victories in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – all swing states that Republican Donald Trump carried in 2016 – were instrumental in his 2020 victory. He will likely will need to carry many of those states again to win re-election.

Black voters have for a long time been the most loyal Democratic constituency, but some feel disenchanted by the Biden presidency.

Biden is to announce that the Grow Milwaukee Coalition is one of 22 finalists for a Commerce Department program that would allocate funds to help create jobs in America’s hardest-hit communities.

The coalition’s proposal would invest in revitalizing Milwaukee’s historic 30th Street Industrial Corridor and connecting the historically segregated Black community to economic opportunity across the city.

A White House fact sheet said the share of Black households owning a business has doubled between 2019 and 2022, after falling between 2007 and 2019, without citing the source of the data.

Next July, Milwaukee will be the site of the Republican National Convention where party delegates will officially nominate their choice for the Republican presidential nomination.

A Reuters-Ipsos poll published on Dec. 5 found that Biden’s popularity was at 40%, near the lowest level of his presidency, a sign of the challenges ahead for his re-election bid.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Sonali Paul, Heather Timmons and Aurora Ellis)