Trump’s 2016 campaign pledges on infrastructure have fallen short, creating opening for Biden

Oct 19, 2020

MILWAUKEE — Gerry Winkleman points across the Milwaukee River at the former tannery where he worked for almost two decades as a union welder, repairing blow pipes and net machines that produced thousands of leather shoes and handbags every year.


Winkleman, 74, drives through a stretch of downtown Milwaukee that once served as a hub of U.S. manufacturing, pausing occasionally to note the factories that have either shuttered or moved their production to China over the past three decades: the Pabst and Schlitz breweries; the Allis-Chalmers manufacturing giant; several different tanneries; the Briggs & Stratton foundry; and Kearney & Trecker, which produced milling machines.

Winkleman voted for a Republican presidential candidate for the first time in his life in 2016, largely due to Donald Trump’s promise to bring back manufacturing jobs and invest $1 trillion to rebuild U.S. infrastructure in Rust Belt states like Wisconsin. This year, Winkleman will vote for former vice president Joe Biden, a decision sealed in part by Trump’s decision to pursue tax cuts — which Winkleman says primarily benefited the rich — over infrastructure investments. Winkleman said he and other members of the building trades were “snookered” by Trump’s 2016 promises to rebuild the country.

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