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Joe Biden talks rural communities, farmers, reopening the economy during virtual events in WI

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden made his first virtual appearance in Wisconsin Wednesday. 

Biden held a roundtable discussion focusing on issues impacting rural Wisconsin and the COVID-19 pandemic. Later in the afternoon, he hosted a virtual rally in Milwaukee. 

The former vice president often criticized how the Trump administration is handling the pandemic, saying the federal government needs to start planning to help the economy rebound by investing in programs to sustain our health care system and keeping businesses open.

“This crisis hit us harder and will last longer because he (Trump) spent the last three years undermining the foundation of our economic strength,” said Biden appearing virtually at his Delaware home.

The roundtable also discussed the need for high-speed internet in rural communities to help them thrive, specifically the need for health care providers to reach more patients. 

He also acknowledged the ongoing financial hardships facing Wisconsin farmers as the state lost 10 percent of its dairy farms last year. Biden said farmers don’t want bailouts, referencing the round of aid to some farmers hurt by the trade war.

“Wisconsin farmers have been hit the hardest, agriculture exports are down and manufacturing is a recession as well. Trump inflicted incredible harms on our farmers,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the Wisconsin Trump victory campaign held an event over the phone with former Governor Scott Walker and GOP Chairman Andrew Hitt who criticized Biden and other Democrats. 

They called on U.S. Rep. Ron Kind to press Biden on the allegations made by Tara Reade who worked for Biden in 1993 and claims he sexually assaulted her. 

The topic was not addressed at either event. Biden has denied the allegations. 

REOPENING:

In a one-on-one interview with 27 News, Biden talked about reopening plans after Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the state’s safer at home order. 

When asked if it’s time to reopen the U.S., he said it has to be done in a rational way, referencing the CDC guidelines released this week on reopening. 

“It's about making sure we can conduct safe reopen. Until people have confidence they can go into a restaurant, sporting arena, in a place with a lot of people, they're not going to go."

This is the second attempt by the CDC to issue these guidelines after the first proposal was opposed by the White House over concerns it was too specific.

The new, shorter version released provides a road map for schools, restaurants and travel among other things.

Biden called out the Trump administration for not listening to the experts who are urging caution on reopening too soon. 

“It requires us to use our brains, listen to science, listen to the experts.”

Biden's comments come after a new Associated Press-NORC poll finds that 83 percent of Americans are at least somewhat concerned that lifting restrictions in their area will lead to additional infections, with 54 percent saying they are very or extremely concerned that such steps will result in a spike of COVID-19 cases.

You can watch the full interview with Biden were we also discuss the economy and the fate of the DNC on Capital City Sunday at 9 a.m.

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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