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Biden visits a key swing state city as Trump rails against him at the courthouse

President Joe Biden and Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail this week, but took very different detours — one to complete sensitive presidential duties and the other to appear in criminal court.

Biden was in North Carolina on Thursday to address supporters in the coastal city of Wilmington, which shares the same name as the Delaware city where he has his permanent residence. But he was courting North Carolinians, not his fellow Delawarians, as he and his campaign aides continued to insist he could win the Tar Heel State in November.

His expected election opponent Trump was back in court on Thursday after an election campaign on Wednesday. Trump addressed reporters on Thursday and called the hush money trial a “ridiculous show trial” and a “Biden trial.”

Both presented their economic visions to voters – and in Trump's case, to court reporters. Biden included parts of his speech in an official event on the topic of clean drinking water.

“How can we say we are the leading nation in the world until the United States of America deals with it? For heaven's sake, we're better than this. … “There is no safe level of lead” in drinking water, he said, announcing federal funding for lead pipe removal and other clean water projects in North Carolina. “Folks, this is about safety, but also about basic fairness. … Studies show communities of color are hardest hit.”

He held the event in Wilmington after assuming presidential duties, first delivering remarks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House about campus protests over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza that sometimes turned violent. From there, he flew to Charlotte, North Carolina, to honor several police officers who were shot there earlier this week.

Biden, a self-described Zionist, used his morning remarks to condemn threats or hate speech against Jewish and Arab-American students, including Palestinian-American students. “There should be no place on any campus, in America, for anti-Semitism and threats of violence against Jewish students,” he said.

“There is no place for hate speech or violence of any kind, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, discrimination against Arab Americans or Palestinian Americans. “It’s just wrong,” he said. “There is no place for racism in America. It's all wrong. It's un-American. … There is a right to protest,” he added, “but not the right to cause chaos.”

The importance of Wilmington and the New Hanover County in which it is located can hardly be overstated, as Biden campaign officials believe the president could win the Tar Heel State in November. Trump narrowly won the state, but Biden was the winner in New Hanover 50.2 percent to 48 percent. With Thursday's visit, the Biden campaign is not taking the area for granted.

And for a good reason.

Trump defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in New Hanover County in 2016, 49.8 percent to 46.2 percent.

“If you want the overall dynamic of a swing county, New Hanover is your county. … The deciding factor, as always, is voter turnout,” Michael Bitzer, a political science professor at Catawba College in North Carolina, said in an email.

Strong differences in the economy

Much of Biden's upcoming campaign speech will focus on how his policies and legislative achievements have improved the lives of voters. That was also the case in the coastal city on Thursday.

Biden touted the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by both houses of Congress during his term, saying it has so far “brought $9 billion to North Carolina alone” and created what he called “good jobs.” He warned that opposition from Republicans in Congress could result in “one in five” North Carolina families losing internet access unless many of them agree to restart a federal broadband access program. And he claimed that big companies like Walmart are unfairly keeping inflationary prices for consumer goods higher than necessary.

“Wages are rising. … Manufacturing is booming,” Biden said to applause. He reiterated his promise to let the “very wealthy and large corporations start paying their fair share” of taxes.

Trump “and his MAGA allies in Congress were happy to give the super-rich a $2 trillion tax cut,” Biden said. “I believe in doing what has always worked best: investing in… all Americans.”

Both presumptive nominees were on the campaign trail this week: Trump attending two Wednesday rallies on his weekly day off from a hush-money trial in Manhattan, and Biden around his presidential duties.

Biden attended a closed campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday and led a fundraiser at the swank Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday evening. Trump held rallies with supporters in Wisconsin and Michigan on Wednesday, and another event took place on Saturday in Wildwood, New Jersey, instead

“It’s not a revenge tour”

Trump spent some of his time on stages in Wisconsin and Michigan talking about kitchen table issues, something some Republican lawmakers have been urging him to do for some time.

“It’s called a new tax. It's called an inflation tax. We call it the “Biden Inflation Tax.” That's exactly what happened. Record types of inflation. And his price increases continue to drain nearly $1,000 from the family…a typical family loses $1,000 every month. … This is what he did to you,” he said in Saginaw, Michigan.

“Bidenomics means pure economic warfare and welfare for middle-class and low-income Americans — it is a disaster,” the former president said after listing common consumer goods such as chicken, baby food, eggs, gasoline and mortgage interest.

“If Joe Biden wins this election, the middle class loses. But if Trump wins, the middle class wins,” he said in Saginaw. “Low-income people will begin their journey toward the American dream.”

Notably, Trump tried a new line on Wednesday, calling the GOP “the party of the middle income” while promising, if re-elected, to “pass through a Trump tax cut for the middle class like you've never seen before.” have”.

Meanwhile, Trump declared that the US economy was in a state of “stagflation.”

“This is what we are in right now, and it means the death of the American dream,” he said Wednesday in Michigan, just hours after denying at his rally in Wisconsin that his possible second term is at stake revenge would be taken on his enemies.

“It’s not a revenge tour,” Trump said in Waukesha, Wisconsin. “Revenge will be our great success.”…We will make this country successful again. It will be so successful. This will be our revenge.”

Bitzer noted that Biden has established solid ground in the Wilmington area, but said the president and his campaign still have work to do.

“For me, the key to winning NC in 2024 is twofold: Which party retains its seat? [2020] “Which electoral coalition is closed and what are the dynamics of voter turnout,” he said. “That means: If 2024 reproduces the voter turnout, particularly in party registration, of 2020, that will be an advantage for Republicans.”

Biden's task in the region over the next seven months will be to “break the fairly stable turnout trend and increase the number of registered Democratic voters above the national average or offset this by identifying Democratic-leaning, independent voters,” Bitzer added.

Anna Harden

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