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VP visit kicks off 2020 focus on battleground Wisconsin

 VP Mike Pence speaks at school choice discussion in Waukesha. June 23, 2020. (Pool)
VP Mike Pence speaks at school choice discussion in Waukesha. June 23, 2020. (Pool) (WBAY)
Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 11:12 PM CDT
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President Donald Trump's re-election campaign is doubling down on the battleground state of Wisconsin this week as pundits say the Badger State is looking like a toss up between the incumbent and Democrat Joe Biden.

Vice President Mike Pence made two stops in the Milwaukee area Tuesday.

The Vice President's first stop was at Waukesha STEM Academy with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and White House Adviser Kellyanne Conway. They took part in a roundtable discussion with school choice supporters.

Vice President Roundtable

WATCH: Vice President Mike Pence holds a school choice roundtable in Waukesha.

Posted by WBAY TV-2 on Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Pence touted the White House's support for school choice and announced work on a new program for school choice scholarships.

"We're working on a new program that would make more than $5 billion available across the country in the form of education freedom scholarships. We want to make it possible to empower parents to make that choice where their children go to school," said Pence.

Wisconsin's statewide school choice program went into effect in 2013. Critics argue the program takes taxpayer money from public schools to fund enrollment in private schools.

shows Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes could go either way.

"I'm in Wisconsin for one reason and one reason only and that is Wisconsin and America need four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House," Pence said.

Guests received temperature checks, face masks and hand sanitizer before heading into ballroom.

But few wore face masks during Pence's speech.

Chairs were spread apart and some watched from an overflow area outside.

Attendees also had to sign a coronavirus waiver.

It stated the hotel and campaign cannot be held responsible if attendees contract the coronavirus.

Pence addressed the pandemic.

"Some 40 states just like Wisconsin are opening up again," he said. "We forfeited some of our personal freedom for the health of our families and our neighbors first and we know we're going to continue to use common sense."

Pence stayed after his speech to shake hands with supporters.

Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker spoke to the crowd ahead of Pence.

Several protesters gathered outside the hotel to oppose the vice president's visit.

Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden responded to Pence's visit by saying he was gambling with the health of Wisconsin families.

Pence last visited Wisconsin in April to tour a GE facility that was making ventilators.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump will visit Fincantieri Marinette Marine and then hold a Town Hall event in Green Bay with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

May's Marquette University Law School Poll shows Biden with a slight edge over Trump, 46-43 percent.

The same poll shows 47 percent approve of President Trump's job in office, while 49 percent disapprove.

for poll results.

Trump flipped Wisconsin from blue to red in 2016, even after polls consistently showed him trailing Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Clinton did not visit Wisconsin in the lead up to the 2016 election. Trump made several stops in the state to rally voters.

Biden has announced no upcoming plans to visit Wisconsin. The campaign released the following statement on Pence's visit to Wisconsin:

“Donald Trump has gambled with the health of Wisconsin families to benefit his own political fortune at every turn. And once again — just days after Trump admitted he ordered COVID-19 testing to be slowed down during the middle of a global pandemic – Mike Pence is back in Wisconsin to clean up Trump’s mess. While Trump’s admission was stunning and outrageous, there are few actions that have done more damage to public health than Trump’s reckless order to slow down testing. From the Trump Administration’s catastrophic response to the COVID-19 pandemic to their repeated attempts to repeal and undermine the Affordable Care Act, there’s no question Mike Pence owes Wisconsin families answers today. Instead, he’s parachuting in with Betsy DeVos.

“As Secretary of Education, DeVos has pursued a radical, destructive agenda to reduce funding for our public K-12 schools and universities. She’s even made it harder for sexual assault survivors to come forward and seek justice on our college campuses. As president, Joe Biden will fire DeVos and nominate a Secretary of Education with experience in a public school classroom. And unlike Trump, he’ll pay teachers what they deserve and triple funding for schools that serve low-income students.”

TRUMP VISIT

FOX News commentator Sean Hannity has announced he will present a one-hour town hall with President Trump on Thursday in Green Bay.

Hannity made the announcement Monday night, saying the town hall will air Thursday, June 25 at 8 p.m. on Fox News Channel.

Brian Stelter, the chief media correspondent for CNN, tweeted shortly after the announcement that the town hall will originate from the Jet Air facility at Green Bay's Austin Straubel International Airport, and will cover the latest on police reform and the 2020 election.

President Trump will be in northeast Wisconsin Thursday, and is scheduled to tour the shipyard at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, and also deliver a speech. He is expected to discuss the recent contract awarded to Marinette Marine to build up to 10 new ships for the U.S. Navy during the speech.

Action 2 News will have complete coverage of President Trump's visit on our digital, social and on air platforms

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