“Starting next week my administration is committing an additional … $13 billion in relief to help farmers recover from the China virus, including Wisconsin’s incredible dairy, cranberry, and ginseng farmers who got hurt badly,” Trump said in Mosinee, a rural town in central Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is known for its milk and cheese industries, which have been hard hit amid the pandemic. The agriculture department is expected to release details about the new aid program on Friday.
The announcement comes after a $19 billion relief program was announced in April to help the agriculture industry hit by the pandemic. The program covered $16 billion in aid directly to farmers and ranchers, and another $3 billion to buy and distribute food to needy families under the Farmers to Families Food Box program.
The Trump administration in 2018 and 2019 authorized $12 billion and $16 billion in aid respectively to American farmers who were suffering from retaliatory tariffs imposed by America’s trading partners, which included China.
China’s demand for U.S. corn and soybeans has been stronger in recent weeks, boosting prices, and it is also importing more meat amid a potential food supply gap.
Wisconsin, a key battleground state, saw Trump beat then-opponent Hillary Clinton in 2016 by less than 1 percent of the vote, marking the first time a Republican won in a presidential election in Wisconsin since 1984.
Trump won Marathon County, which includes Mosinee, by more than 12,000 votes in 2016—over three times more than the margin by which 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney won the area.
The rally, held outside an aircraft hangar at the Mosinee airport, saw several hundreds of supporters packed together, in what Trump called “a peaceful protest.”
“This is a peaceful protest okay?” Trump said to a laughing crowd. “By the way, officially, this is called a protest, you know that. We no longer call it rallies, we don’t use the term rally, okay?”
“We don’t call them rallies anymore. Because, you know, you’re not allowed to have a political rally for more than 10 people. You’re not allowed to go to church you’re not allowed to meet you’re, not allowed to talk to anybody.
“You have to stay in a prison. Your home has become your prison. And then I’m saying well, what are you allowed to do? … you are allowed to protest. Oh really, oh! Hence the name. We call them friendly protest, so these are protest, so it’s totally allowed,” he joked.
The president continued, “so you can’t go to church, but you can rip the hell out of the streets … break up the stores burn down the buildings, climb over each other’s face. … looters, anarchist,s agitators, burning down stores, throwing things at police. They’ve taken the authority away from our police.”
Trump said that his administration would help restore authority to police.
Trump’s last visit to Wisconsin was on Sept. 1, where he met with business owners affected by riots in the city and met with law enforcement officials. He promised some $41 million in grant awards to Wisconsin to address public safety.
Earlier on Thursday, Trump signed an order on “Patriotic Education” and denounced critical race theory as well as The New York Times’ “1619 Project.”
“Critical Race Theory, the 1619 Project, and the crusade against American history is toxic propaganda—an ideological poison that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together,” he said at the time.
At the Wisconsin rally, he told supporters, “We’re launching a new pro-American lesson plan for students called 1776 Commission. We’re going to teach our children the truth about America that we’re the most exceptional nation ever to exist and we’re getting better.”
Tom Ozimek, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.