Biden Jabs Trump on Foxconn With Microsoft Project at Same Site

(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden chided Donald Trump during a visit to swing-state Wisconsin, championing a major Microsoft Corp. investment at the same site his 2024 rival’s plans for a flagship technology project by Foxconn fizzled.

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Biden said the Foxconn investment heralded by his predecessor turned out to be “a con,” mocking the former president for failing to deliver on promises to bring high-paying jobs to the state and boost domestic manufacturing.

Biden was joined at the event by Microsoft President Brad Smith to announce a $3.3 billion plan by the company to build an artificial intelligence data center at a site in Racine County, Wisconsin. The facility will be built on land once chosen for a massive investment by Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn. Trump attended a groundbreaking in 2018, citing it as a centerpiece of his efforts to bring more manufacturing jobs to the US.

“He came here with your Senator Ron Johnson, literally holding a golden shovel, promising to build ‘the eighth wonder of the world,’ Biden said Wednesday. “They dug a hole with those golden shovels and they fell into it.”

Foxconn, a supplier for Apple Inc., had agreed to build the tech manufacturing hub on farmland south of Milwaukee and create as many as 13,000 high-paying jobs. But the effort has been heavily scaled back, hit by delays and shifting plans. A state agency says it has created just over 1,000 jobs so far.

“My predecessor made promises. He broke more than he kept, leaving a lot of people behind and communities like Racine behind. On my watch, we make promises and we keep promises,” Biden said.

Smith, who grew up in the state, also alluded to Foxconn’s struggles, saying it was important for companies to “underpromise, overdeliver and work with the community” on investment projects.

“It’s the way to do business here,” he added.

Foxconn said in a statement that it had invested around $1 billion in Wisconsin, and that it had helped back bonds to build the infrastructure for other technology companies to set up shop in the state.

“We are proud of the over 1,000 men and women who work at Foxconn Wisconsin,” the company said.

Biden has touted bipartisan legislation on infrastructure and semiconductor subsidies that he says brought new investments to communities across the US and spurred a renaissance in domestic manufacturing. It’s a bid to distinguish his record from that of Trump, who he says watched as American jobs went to China.

Yet that message has proved a difficult sell as polls show voters skeptical of Biden’s handling of the economy and willing to give his predecessor more credit for his stewardship.

Wisconsin is one of the battleground states where that question will be settled in November. An April Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll showed Biden trailing Trump in key swing-states likely to determine the outcome of the election. In Wisconsin, the poll found Trump with a 4 percentage point lead. In March, the same poll had Biden leading by 1 point.

Earlier: Biden’s Gains Against Trump Vanish on Deep Economic Pessimism

The trip is Biden’s fourth visit to Wisconsin this year — a marker of its importance. Trump carried the state by less than 1 percentage point in 2016 and Biden flipped it in 2020, also winning it narrowly.

Biden has stepped up his travel to battleground states in recent weeks hoping to capitalize on his opponent’s legal woes. Trump has been largely sidelined with his criminal trial involving hush-money payments to an adult film star underway in Manhattan. The presumptive Republican nominee is required to be in the courtroom for the proceedings, limiting his ability to campaign on weekdays.

Biden is scheduled to visit Chicago for a fundraiser later Wednesday as he looks to build up his cash advantage over Trump. Chicago will host the Democratic National Convention this summer.

(Updates with Biden remarks at event)

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