JANESVILLE, Wis. — President Trump campaigned Saturday night in this community not far from the scene of racial-justice riots, and warned that Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden “will appease the looters and anarchists” if he’s elected president.
“Do you want to vote for the candidate supported by anti-American rioters, or do you want to vote for the candidate supported by so many of our great people and heroes of law enforcement?” Mr. Trump asked supporters at an airport rally. “As long as I am president, we will never defund the police. I want people to be safe.”
Janesville is about 70 miles west of Kenosha, where rioters last month burned businesses and caused more than $50 million in damage after the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake.
The president warned that Mr. Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala D. Harris would allow the left to dismantle police departments across the country.
“This year more than 1,000 law-enforcement officers have been viciously attacked,” Mr. Trump said. “Nobody talks about that. The anti-police rhetoric by Joe Biden and the Democrat Party is really what causes a lot of this, too. It puts police officers in harm’s way.”
The president said murders in Democratic-controlled cities have increased by more than 30 percent this year.
“More than half of the victims are African Americans,” he said. “Joe Biden and the left ignore these American victims. I never will. We have done more for the Black community than any other president with the exception of Abraham Lincoln.”
Referring to reports this week that Mr. Biden’s son Hunter received millions in foreign payments while Mr. Biden was vice president, Mr. Trump again accused the Biden family of being “a criminal enterprise.” He said Mr. Biden was enriching his family while allowing Wisconsin manufacturing jobs to move overseas.
“You elected an outsider to finally put America first,” he said of himself.
With 17 days until Election Day, the president embarked Saturday on three-day campaign swing that is taking him to four crucial battleground states — Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada and Arizona.
Mr. Biden is leading the president in Wisconsin by 6.3 percentage points in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. Mr. Trump won the state in 2016 by one percentage point.
Early voting begins on Tuesday in Wisconsin. Pointing to encouraging early voting results in Michigan, the president said “something’s happening out there” that isn’t showing up in polls yet.
“You know what? We win Wisconsin, we win the whole ballgame,” Mr. Trump said, smiling. “What the hell do you think I’m doing here on a freezing night? You think I’m doing this for my health?”
Wisconsin is seeing a surge in cases of coronavirus. The state’s Department of Health Services said nearly 4,000 new cases were confirmed on Friday – the highest daily number in the state since the start of the pandemic.
But the president claimed that “we’re rounding the corner” on the pandemic and urged the state’s leadership to “open up” the economy.
He pointed to his own recovery from COVID-19 after testing positive on Oct. 1.
“The vaccines are incredible. And the cures — excuse me, I’m here,” he said to a roar of approval.
Mr. Trump again suggested that he may have contracted the disease during a meeting at the White House late last month with Gold Star families, people who lost relatives in military service.
“I can’t cancel these people,” the president said. “You know it’s risky. I have an obligation. These meetings are so important to people. And sure as hell, I caught it. Now I’m immune. I got better fast.”
— Dave Boyer reported from Washington.