Biden trolls Trump by unveiling new facility on site of ex-president’s failed FoxConn plant

Nearly six years after then-president Donald Trump promised Racine, Wisconsin residents that the “eighth wonder of the world” would rise there in the form of a chip factory operated by Taiwanese semiconductor giant Foxconn, President Joe Biden delivered on his own, competing promise. Biden announced the construction of a $3.3bn artificial intelligence data center on the site where the planned Foxconn plant never materialized on Wednesday.

The data center, which will be owned and operated by Microsoft, is set to employ 2,300 unionized workers during the construction phase of the project, and will eventually need 2,000 permanent workers at the facility.

The location of the facility — Racine — was once a Badger State manufacturing powerhouse, until globalization and slowdowns in manufacturing led to massive job losses.

Trump, who promised an industrial renaissance during his time in office, appeared in Racine in June 2018 to announce the construction of a Foxconn semiconductor fabrication facility that he claimed would create 13,000 jobs.

But that planned fabrication facility never came to fruition, leaving a vacant site and memories of broken promises from the former president’s visit six years ago.

Biden blamed “trickle-down economics” favoured by Trump and his advisers for the decline in employment in Racine and places like it during a speech on Wednesday. He recalled how the ex-president had brought a gold-coloured shovel to break ground on the facility in a highly-publicized announcement alongside Republican Senator Ron Johnson and then-governor Scott Walker — despite the fact that nothing ever came of it.

While more than $500 million in state funds were spent on purchasing and preparing the site, Foxconn’s promised investment never came through.

Donald Trump, centre, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, left, and Foxconn chairman Terry Gou participate in a groundbreaking event for the new company's facility in Mount Pleasant in June 2018 (AP)
Donald Trump, centre, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, left, and Foxconn chairman Terry Gou participate in a groundbreaking event for the new company's facility in Mount Pleasant in June 2018 (AP)

“Look what happened — they dug a hole [with] those golden shovels and then they fell into it,” Biden said, adding that “hundreds of homes” had been “bought and bulldozed” using Wisconsinites’ tax dollars for “a project that never happened”.

“Foxconn turned out to be just that — a con,” he said. “Go figure.”

Biden then noted how 83,500 people had actually left the Badger State during Trump’s term. In comparison, he said, 178,000 jobs have been created in Wisconsin since Biden took office in 2021.

“We’re gonna create more here in Racine, big time,” he added.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on his
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on his "Investing in America agenda" at Gateway Technical College, Wednesday, May 8, 2024, in Sturtevant, Wis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP)

Biden stated that his administration’s “Investing in America agenda” has “created $866 billion in private sector investment nationwide” and has added hundreds of thousands of jobs to the US economy, “building new semiconductor factories, electric vehicles and battery factories and so much more”.

In an optimistic speech focused on the economy, the president also promised that the job growth seen on his watch thus far is “only the beginning”.

“We’re seeing the great American comeback story all across Wisconsin — and quite frankly, the entire country. The bottom line is we’re doing what’s always worked in this country: giving people a fair shot, leaving nobody behind and growing the economy from the bottom up — not the top down,” he said, before closing his remarks to chants of “four more years” from a boisterous crowd of union workers.

The president’s appearance in Wisconsin was a direct rebuke to the ex-president, who on Wednesday was expected to spend the day at his Palm Beach, Florida home meeting with supporters who purchased Trump-branded NFTs. He did so while on a day-long break from his New York criminal trial on charges of allegedly falsifying business records.

The White House said Biden’s visit to the state was meant to showcase “a community at the heart of his commitment to invest in places that have been historically overlooked or failed by the last administration’s policies”.

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is growing the economy from the middle-out and bottom-up, giving Americans more breathing room, and unleashing hundreds of billions of dollars of private sector investment in industries of the future, including AI, clean energy, semiconductors, and more,” the White House said.