Biden touts new $3.3 billion Microsoft data center at failed Foxconn site Trump backed

Biden touts new $3.3 billion Microsoft data center at failed Foxconn site Trump backed


Biden touts new $3.3 billion Microsoft data center at failed Foxconn site Trump backed

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STURTEVANT, Wisconsin (Reuters) - US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced plans by Microsoft Corp to build a $3.3 billion data center in southeastern Wisconsin that will create thousands of jobs in the presidential election battleground state.

The facility will be built after his predecessor and current rival for the presidency, Donald Trump, announced a $10 billion investment by Taiwan electronics manufacturer Foxconn in 2017 that the company later drastically scaled back.

"I'm here to talk about a great comeback story in America," Biden told about 200 people at Gateway Technical College's Sturtevant campus in a region hit by manufacturing declines and the failed Foxconn project.

The president said Microsoft's investment would "be transformative, not only here, but worldwide."

"My predecessor made promises, which he broke," Biden said. "On my watch, we make promises and we keep promises."

Foxconn in 2021 said it would invest $672 million at the site instead of $10 billion initially planned and forecast 1,454 new jobs, down from 13,000.

Microsoft President Brad Smith said the company planned to invest $3.3 billion by the end of 2026 and use artificial intelligence to help strengthen manufacturers and workers.

The White House said the investment will result in 2,300 union construction jobs and around 2,000 permanent jobs over time. The White House said nearly 4,000 jobs had been added in nearby Racine since Biden took office, while about 1,000 manufacturing jobs were lost during the Trump administration.

"We will train over 100,000 people in Wisconsin by the end of the decade so they have the AI skills to fill the jobs of tomorrow," Smith said. He credited Biden's legislation on infrastructure, chips and climate change with laying the groundwork for the investment.

Microsoft will partner with Gateway Technical College to train 1,000 people for data center and other roles by 2030 and will work to train 1,000 business leaders to adopt AI in their operations, the White House added.

Biden, a Democrat, will use his fourth trip this year to Wisconsin - one of seven swing states critical to his 2024 reelection bid - to meet with volunteers in Racine's Black community, his campaign said in a separate statement.

Biden is seeking to shore up support among Black voters ahead of the Nov. 5 presidential election, with national polls showing him essentially tied in a rematch with Trump, a Republican making his third bid for the White House after losing to Biden in 2020.

Biden ribbed his predecessor for the failure. "Foxconn turned out to be just that - a con," Biden said.

Representatives for Trump's campaign could not be immediately reached for comment.

Foxconn said in a statement that employment at its Wisconsin operations had grown 42% since 2020 and that it had become the surrounding county's largest taxpayer in recent years. "We are proud of the over 1,000 men and women who work at Foxconn Wisconsin," it said.

Meanwhile, Biden's campaign launched a $14 million ad campaign, including a seven-figure investment targeting Black, Latino and Asian voters. On Thursday, it will release an ad called “Terminate” focusing on Trump’s attacks on Americans’ health care.