Trump Will Go After Biden on Border and Crime in Michigan and Wisconsin

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump attends a campaign rally in Waterford Township, Mich., Feb. 17. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Donald Trump is expected on Tuesday to attack President Joe Biden over his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border when he visits Wisconsin and Michigan, both critical battleground states in the 2024 election.

Trump will first appear in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to deliver a speech about what his campaign calls “Biden’s Border Bloodbath.” He will then hold a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on the day the state holds its presidential primaries.

Polls suggest Trump has an advantage over Biden on immigration issues as many prospective voters say they’re concerned about illegal border crossings hitting record highs. In recent weeks, Trump and others in his party have seized on several high-profile cases of immigrants in the U.S. illegally being charged with crimes.

“Under Crooked Joe Biden, EVERY state is now a border state. EVERY town is now a Border Town — because Joe Biden has brought the carnage, chaos, and killing from all over world, and dumped it straight into our own backyards,” Trump spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said in a statement previewing the former President’s speech.

Biden’s campaign, which has been hammering Trump for his role in killing a bipartisan border deal that would have added more than 1,500 new Customs and Border Protection personnel, in addition to other restrictions, preempted the speech by accusing Trump of doing the same.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said Monday that there is “a real problem on our southern border” and that it’s “really critical that Congress and the President solve the problem.”

“There was a solution on the table. It was actually the former President that encouraged Republicans to walk away from getting it done,” Whitmer said. “I don’t have a lot of tolerance for political points when it continues to endanger our economy and, to some extent, our people as we saw play out in Grand Rapids recently.”

Trump has been leaning into inflammatory rhetoric about the record surge of migrants at the southern border since he became his party’s presumptive nominee. He has portrayed migrants as “poisoning the blood of the country,” questioned whether some should even be considered people, and claimed, without evidence, that countries have been emptying their prisons and mental asylums into the U.S.

He has also accused Biden of waging a “conspiracy to overthrow the United States of America,” claiming Biden is trying to “collapse the American system, nullify the will of the actual American voters, and establish a new base of power that gives them control for generations.”

Republicans in both states are in catchup mode as they appear to be far behind Democrats organizationally just six months before the first early votes are cast in the general election.

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Pete Hoekstra told The Associated Press last week that the Trump campaign and its partners at the Republican National Committee had yet to make significant general election investments in the state, with no general election field staff in place.

Republican lawmakers in Michigan have also found themselves entrenched in controversy in recent weeks. State Rep. Matthew Maddock falsely claimed that buses carrying college athletes to Detroit for March Madness were shuttling illegal migrant “invaders” into the city.

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, Democrats have touted their statewide organization, pointing to 44 field offices they already have operating across the state, along with a staff of over 50 so far.

The Trump campaign has yet to name any Wisconsin state party leaders or organizers.

The Wisconsin Republican Party has also been badly outraised in recent years and the state GOP’s executive director left in March just months ahead of the national convention coming to Milwaukee.

Democrats have been reveling in a string of victories including the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s recent overturning of Republican-drawn legislative maps, which is expected to result in Democratic gains.

The visit will be Trump’s first in the state since 2022, when he held a rally to boost gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels, who lost his bid to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

Trump’s campaign has said it is working to catch up and will be opening dozens of offices and hiring hundreds of staff on a rolling basis over the next 30 to 45 days.

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