(WISCONSIN) — Ahead of Donald Trump’s visit to West Salem, Rep. Jill Billings, La Crosse County Democratic Party Chair Michael Smuksta, and Wisconsin Farmers Union President Darin Von Ruden held a video press conference to call out Trump for his failed response to the coronavirus pandemic and his chaotic trade wars with China that have gutted Wisconsin’s industries. For four years, Wisconsinites have watched Trump put China’s interests ahead of Wisconsin jobs, leading to a decline in manufacturing and record dairy farm bankruptcies.
Watch the full event here or see excerpts of what the speakers said below:
Jill Billings: “As COVID continues to increase across Wisconsin, I have seen time and again how President Trump and the Wisconsin Republican elected officials have put their politics over the safety of people in Wisconsin. President Trump refuses to listen to science… and President Trump is planning a superspreader event right here in our backyard… President Trump also has done very little to help our economy during this time of COVID… We need somebody who has a plan, who is calm, and who has the right temperament to get us through the winter of COVID-19, and that person is Joe Biden and Kamala Harris… Republicans will not address COVID. We have one of the worst records in the United States as a state legislature helping the people who elected us… Under the Republican federal administration, we have a great risk of losing the Affordable Care Act… 2.4 million Wisconsinites have those pre-existing conditions, and they are especially vulnerable during COVID time of having medical problems. This is absolutely not the time to be taking away the Affordable Care Act… We need to elect Democrats who will take office, and who will face the challenges that are in front of us regarding the Affordable Care Act, addressing COVID-19, making sure that our small businesses and families can make it through COVID this winter and through the other side.”
Michael Smuksta: “Last week, President Trump said we’re “rounding the corner” on the COVID. Our state alone has seen almost 150% increase in deaths over the last two weeks. And just yesterday Trump’s White House, in an interview, said that they are “not going to control the pandemic.” So it seems like they have given up on dealing with the coronavirus, but they never really seemed to try… Basically he’s saying we’re on our own during this pandemic. His visit to West Salem on Tuesday will be nothing more than another super-spreader event that will remind Wisconsinites what a failure he has been in addressing this pandmeic. It’s also clear that voters in our part of the state are really tired of this. In the last six months, our county Democratic party membership has grown, and we have seen more and more volunteers… It’s clear in Wisconsin that folks are not only mad at Donald Trump, but they’re also excited about being motivated to vote for Joe Biden, because Joe Biden is going to bring about changes… We’re putting all of our effort into getting people out to vote, and to make a change to remove this administration and put in an administration under Biden and Harris that will lead this country in a positive way, end the divisiveness, and unify us.”
Darin Von Ruden: “We’ve lost over 2,350 dairy farms in the state of Wisconsin alone under the Trump administration… 25% of the dairy farms in the state of Wisconsin have gone out of business during his administration… Looking at the Trump administration’s viewpoint on trade, Mr. Trump and his followers say that the USMCA was one of the best deals ever… Looking at what it’s really doing for us– not a whole lot… His leadership is continuing to be bad for all of us in rural America and rural Wisconsin, and we need a leader like Joe Biden who has the ability to make comprehensive decisions and has the ability to listen to the experts… The current administration is just making it worse, and we need to get to a point where we can actually trust what’s coming out of the White House… Let’s make a change. We are better than this in the United States of America, and we need to make that change November 3rd.”