RACINE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - President Donald Trump grabbed a shovel and dug in for the ceremonial groundbreaking at the Foxconn campus in Racine County.
Trump joined Gov. Scott Walker, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Foxconn CEO Terry Gou for the groundbreaking.
"I'm thrilled to be in the Badger State," President Trump said. "Moments ago we broke ground on a plant that will provide jobs to much more than 13,000 Wisconsin workers."
The president said when he learned Foxconn was interested in building in the United States, he immediately thought of Wisconsin.
"As Foxconn has discovered, there is no better place to build, higher in growth than right here in the United States. America is open for business more than it has ever been open for business," Trump said.
"Foxconn would not be in America without you," Gov. Scott Walker said to the president. "Your team in the White House, Jared [Kushner], your cabinet, everyone was just hands on deck. Great team effort there and we couldn't be more proud to have Foxconn's 8K technology LCD panels for the first time ever outside of Asia made in the USA, proudly in the state of Wisconsin. Thank you, Mr. President."
The Taiwan-based technology company is building a sprawling campus in Mount Pleasant that's been dubbed the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park.
Foxconn has promised to invest $10 billion into the Wisconsin economy and create 13,000 jobs.
"Over the past year, we have formed strong partnerships with communities across Wisconsin and we look forward to continuing to work with the talented, hard-working people here in the years ahead," said Foxconn CEO Terry Gou.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross wrote in an op-ed that Wisconsin's Foxconn deal "would never have happened without the promise of the Trump tax cuts and the President's personal intervention."
Ross says Trump met the Foxconn several times and held weekly calls with executives.
Gov. Scott Walker says Foxconn will spend $1.4 billion each year in Wisconsin goods and services.
Critics call the Foxconn deal a "$4 billion giveaway to a multinational corporation."
"Scott Walker's Foxconn boondoggle is costing taxpayers billions of dollars, and the investment will not be recouped until 2042. Children not yet born will be on the hook for paying for this project, which is shaping up to be much different - and much more expensive - than it was sold as," reads a statement from the TJ Helmstetter, Democratic Party of Wisconsin. "Meanwhile, Wisconsin's schools are still feeling the pain from Walker's massive education cuts, and Wisconsin's roads throughout the state are crumbling as money is being diverted from other projects to accommodate Foxconn."
A number of groups spent the morning protesting Foxconn and the visit by President Trump.
State Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) cited recent reports that Foxconn's Wisconsin facility would likely be smaller than planned.
“The Foxconn deal is nothing more than a classic bait-and-switch, except that we are getting to see it play out in the open in real time,” said Hansen.
He continued, "The Foxconn deal has been about nothing more than getting Governor Walker reelected. And Wisconsin families and taxpayers are going to pay dearly for it. At over $4 billion this makes the Foxconn deal the single biggest public campaign contribution in history.”
President Trump's visit to the homeland of Harley-Davidson came as he continued to criticize the motorcycle maker for announcing plans to move some production to Europen.
Trump tweeted earlier this week that Harley had "surrendered", and was facing "the beginning of the end" if they moved production to Europe.
Harley says its decision comes after the European Union placed retaliatory tariffs on Harleys in response to United States tariffs on European aluminum and steel.
"Harley-Davidson, please build those beautiful motorcycles in the USA, please. Don't get cute with us. Don't get cute. Your customers won't be happy if you don't," President Trump said at the Foxconn event.
Gov. Scott Walker has said that he supports ending tariffs and has told President Trump that. However, Walker has not directly mentioned the president or Harley.
President Trump started his day in Milwaukee, where hundreds of people marched or protested at the Pfister Hotel, the location of a GOP fundraiser attended by the president.
Voces de la Frontera organized the protest to speak out about the treatment of immigrant families at the border and to call for the end of ICE and Border Patrol.
"ICE and CBP must be abolished and replaced with institutions that welcome and integrate immigrants and refugees," said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera.