President Donald Trump will spend most of Thursday afternoon and evening campaigning in northeastern Wisconsin. One of his stops will be at a shipbuilding company that recently won a huge federal contract.
Earlier this week, Republican Vice President Mike Pence campaigned in Pewaukee. He told a rally that Trump has steered a lot of taxpayer dollars to the armed forces.
"This president has signed the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. We've rebuilt our military, the arsenal of democracy, and we're once again giving our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guard the resources they need to accomplish their mission and come home safe,” Pence said, to applause.
CNBC called the defense bill Trump signed last December "colossal" and noted it increased spending $21 billion.
Two months ago, the Navy awarded the first part of a $5 billion contract to Fincantieri Marinette Marine to begin building up to ten missile frigate ships. The Marinette-based company says it will eventually hire 1,000 more workers. President Trump will tour the shipyard Thursday afternoon.
But some politicians from the area say they worry Trump will take too much of the credit. State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) says many in his party helped pave the way to winning the contract.
"There's been an effort in Marinette for years, Democrats and Republicans alike. [Democratic] Gov. [Jim] Doyle, former [Democratic] congressmen [Steve] Kagen [of Green Bay] and [Bart] Stupak [of Michigan], and now, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin [D-WI], and for that matter, [Democratic] Gov. [Tony] Evers put in $30 million for infrastructure in a budget. So, I think it's a good thing for Marinette. It's good to get the frigate contract, and I've been at numerous launches, so let's give everybody credit,” Hansen said at a Wednesday briefing organized by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
Some journalists who specialize in defense issues warn that all new ships have question marks, with systems that haven't been tested in combat, and may face threats that haven’t been assessed. But that sort of tempered enthusiasm is not expected when President Trump campaigns in Marinette.