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Biden Midwest factory tour offers contrast to Trump hush money case


U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during his visit to the Cummins Power Generation Facility in Fridley, Minnesota, U.S., April 3, 2023. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

While the drama over Donald Trump’s arraignment unfolded in New York, President Joe Biden pressed ahead with his official duties, visiting the Midwestern state of Minnesota on Monday to talk about economic issues.

Biden went to Fridley, Minnesota, to discuss infrastructure and manufacturing jobs, tour a factory and tout a new $1 billion investment pledge from engine maker Cummins Inc (CMI.N).

Over 1,000 miles away, New York City was bracing for the arraignment of his predecessor over hush money paid to a porn star before the 2016 election.

Journalists lined the block outside Trump’s Manhattan home, Trump Tower, police erected barricades outside the courtroom where he is to be arraigned, and the local Young Republican Club prepped for a Tuesday rally.

At the Cummins plant, Biden told the crowd that since he took power, more than 12 million jobs have been created. “That’s more jobs in two years than any president has created in four years.”

He also renewed his appeal to raise taxes on billionaires. “It’s just paying your fair share. And it’s cutting subsidies -why are we paying subsidies to the oil companies?”

Biden’s only reference to Trump was when he took credit for reducing the deficit by $1 trillion. “The last guy who had this job, he increased it by $2 trillion,” the president said.

The sharp contrast between what the two potential 2024 presidential rivals – Democrat Biden and Republican Trump – are doing on any given day may become a jarring, in-your-face, split-screen reality for the American political scene for months to come.

While Biden is yet to officially declare he is running for a second four-year term in 2024, his candidacy is all but assured and faces no apparent serious challenge.

Trump announced last November that he is running again, and the hush money case is expected to take at least a year to come to trial. His indictment has proven to be a fillip to his reelection campaign, pulling former fans who were leaning toward Florida Governor Ron DeSantis back into his orbit.

That means the next presidential race, expected to run over $1 billion in advertising and campaigning, could pit two very different visions of older, white, male America: Biden, 80, against Trump, 76. Biden defeated Trump in 2020 after pledging to restore order following his rival’s chaotic four-year term.

Biden, his aides and Democratic strategists plan to say as little as possible about Trump for the time being, and instead will tout the over $1 trillion in new, Democrat-backed federal investment bills passed during his first two years in office. Their core message to voters is to give Biden four more years to “finish the job.”

When Trump visits a lower Manhattan courthouse tomorrow to be fingerprinted and photographed and appear in front of a judge, Biden will meet with his council of science and technology advisers.

Trump is raising money on the back of his indictment, and his campaign credited it with bringing in $4 million in just 24 hours. At one point, he distributed a photo of himself with a baseball bat next to one of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who brought the case.

While New York police say they have seen no credible threats so far, the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection is a fresh memory. On Monday, New York Mayor Eric Adams warned Trump supporters that the city was “not a playground … for your misplaced anger.”

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