CLEVELAND – President Donald Trump billed his trip to Ohio on Thursday as a chance to promote economic recovery, but he quickly pivoted to a deeply personal attack on Joe Biden, even questioning without foundation the former vice president's faith in God.
Even for a president known for his blunt criticism, Trump's remarks stood out and they signaled how contentious the campaign may get over the coming months.
"He's against God. He's against guns. He's against energy, our kind of energy. I don't think he's going to do too well in Ohio," Trump said.
Biden called the remarks beneath the office Trump holds. "For President Trump to attack my faith is shameful," Biden said.
Trump also used his trip to Ohio to talk trade, telling workers at a Whirlpool plant, "I will stand up to the foreign trade cheaters and violators that hate our country."
Barely one month after a new North America trade agreement went into effect, Trump announced his intention to reimpose 10% tariffs on aluminum imported from Canada, saying that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has advised him the step was necessary to defend the U.S. aluminum industry. However, the move also sets up the possibility of retaliation against U.S. companies and producers.
"Canada was taking advantage of us as usual," Trump said.
The administration said the president had exempted Canada last year from tariffs he had imposed as long as imports of steel and aluminum from Canada remained at historic levels. But there has been a surge that has intensified in recent months despite a contraction in U.S. demand.
Trump also sought to remind voters of the economic prosperity much of the nation enjoyed before the pandemic and said he is best suited to rebuild the economy. But his handling of the outbreak has weakened his bid for a second term, causing Trump to spend time and resources in a state he won easily in 2016 but now could be in danger of slipping away.