MOUNT PLEASANT -- President Donald Trump and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker grabbed a pair of golden shovels and moved piles of dirt under the hot June sun as part of a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Foxconn Technology Group project Thursday, June 28.
They stood in front of a massive American flag held aloft by a pair of construction cranes.
President Trump and Gov. Walker were joined by Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, House Speaker Paul Ryan and the first Wisconsin Foxconn employee Christopher Murdock for the ceremony.
President Trump then traveled to the Foxconn Opus Building in Mount Pleasant, where he took a tour before delivering remarks on Thursday afternoon. He took credit for the deal that has Foxconn promising the $10 billion campus and 13,000 jobs.
"I will tell you they wouldn't have done it here except I became president, so that's good," said President Trump.
The deal, especially the $4.5 billion in public incentives, has divided the state, but if President Trump had heard the criticism from Democrats, he didn't let on.
"This is one of the greatest deals ever. What this is going to do, and I don't even know that anyone's critical of it. I can't imagine they could be," said President Trump.
His 35-minute speech veered to his upcoming Supreme Court pick to the 2020 campaign and finally, to his rift with Harley-Davidson, which is moving some production overseas and blaming President Trump's trade policy.
"Harley-davidson. Please build those beautiful motorcycles in the USA please. Don't get cute with us. Don't get cute," said President Trump.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said essentially, the administration feels back-stabbed by Harley.
"It is disappointing that a company we've worked very hard to help doesn't have a little more staying power than that," said Ross.
Other speakers included Governor Walker, Speaker Ryan and Foxconn Founder and Chairman Terry Gou.
Speaker Ryan and Gov. Walker said the project will transform the state and make it a magnet for millennials. Gou said the company remains committed to hiring 13,000 even as the company switches course and plans to build smaller screens initially in Mount Pleasant instead of the larger screens as originally planned.
Walker said "this will make us a brain gain state, not a brain drain state." He predicts it will transform the state like Microsoft did for Washington state.
President Trump praised the groundbreaking, saying Thursday that what used to be a field in Mount Pleasant will become one of the largest developments ever built in the world at 20 million square feet (1.9 million square meters).
He said the decision by the Taiwan-based maker of LCD screens and assembler of Apple iPhones shows "America is open for business."
On Thursday morning, Foxconn representatives took part in a walk-through -- running some video of a mock-up of the proposed campus in Mount Pleasant, which features a train, a lake and dozens of Foxconn buildings.
President Trump toured the Opus Building upon his arrival.
Guests were on hand early, and they were being treated to Sprecher's root beer, and there was even a robotic cart carrying hors d’oeuvres!
Foxconn officials have set two open houses for Friday and Saturday -- which they said will offer "an opportunity to see first-hand the advanced technologies that will be developed at its new Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park in Mount Pleasant."
Protesters gathered as President Trump headed from a morning fundraiser in Milwaukee to the groundbreaking about 30 miles south.
Five golden shovels were arranged in front of a massive American flag in a field where dirt is already being moved for the 20-million-square-foot Foxconn campus.
Chants of "Hey, hey, Ho, ho. Donald Trump has got to go" were heard near the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, where President Trump overnighted and was attending a fundraiser. About 50 people walked from a downtown park to as close as they could get to the roped-off hotel to protest President Trump's immigration policy -- blocking an off-ramp for a time.
A larger protest was held in Mount Pleasant, near the Foxconn site.
The Foxconn project could employ up to 13,000 people, but opponents say it is costing Wisconsin taxpayers too much.