Biden campaign launches Milwaukee merchandise, homepage takeover after Trump remark

Biden campaign launches Milwaukee merchandise, homepage takeover after Trump remark

The Biden campaign is taking over the homepage of a local newspaper in Milwaukee on Friday, seizing on comments from former President Trump a day earlier in which he criticized the city.

The Biden campaign will have a homepage takeover ad of The Shepherd Express — an alt weekly — and the Journal Sentinel, highlighting Trump calling Milwaukee a “horrible city” during a meeting on Capitol Hill with Republicans. The ad was shared first with The Hill.

The ad is a split-screen image, one highlighting Trump’s “horrible city” critique and the other boasting that President Biden passed legislation to invest in Milwaukee. Trump officials have insisted the former president’s remark was specifically referring to crime.

In addition to the ad, the Biden campaign created merchandise around the Trump comment, including T-shirts and Wisconsin-shaped stickers that read, “(Not) a horrible city,” and T-shirts and can koozies that play off “I heart Milwaukee” and feature a mug of beer in place of a heart.

“Donald Trump has proven he doesn’t give a damn about the city of Milwaukee, hardworking Wisconsinites, or anyone besides himself and his billionaire donors — his tax cuts for the super wealthy as president shipped good-paying Wisconsin jobs overseas,” Biden campaign spokesperson Sarafina Chitika said in a statement to The Hill.

“If Donald thinks Milwaukee is so ‘horrible,’ he should stay home and spare Milwaukee voters more of his failed leadership, divisive rhetoric, and harmful plans to give away their jobs.”

On Thursday, Trump visited Washington, D.C., where he met with House Republicans and GOP senators and attended a Business Roundtable discussion with CEOs. While Trump discussed a range of topics during those meetings, the comment that gained the most traction was his criticism of Milwaukee.

Punchbowl News reported Trump referred to Milwaukee, which will host the Republican National Convention next month and the most populous city in the key battleground of Wisconsin, as a “horrible city.”

The Biden campaign and Democratic National Committee immediately seized on the remark, highlighting it to Wisconsin voters and criticizing Trump for denigrating a city that will host him and thousands of other Republican officials in the coming weeks.

Trump and his allies sought to tamp down outrage over the comment, insisting he was talking about crime in particular.

“Total bulls‑‑‑. He never said it like how it’s been falsely characterized as. He was talking about how terrible crime and voter fraud are,” Steven Chueng, a senior Trump campaign official, posted on the social platform X.

Trump, in an interview with Fox News later Thursday, said he was talking about crime and told the outlet, “I love Milwaukee.”

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) said he did not take issue with Trump’s comments.

“He made it clear we had to do better in Milwaukee, as we have to do in many of the big cities in the northern United States,” Grothman, who represents parts of Milwaukee County, said on NewsNation. “But having been born in Milwaukee, raised right north of Milwaukee, there was nothing I found offensive.”

Wisconsin is poised to play a major role in November’s election between Trump and Biden. Trump narrowly won the state in 2016, then lost it to Biden in 2020 by roughly 20,000 votes. A Decision Desk HQ/The Hill average of polls shows Biden leading in Wisconsin by 1 percentage point.

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