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Jill Biden, Donald Trump Jr. set to campaign in Michigan next week

Presidential campaign surrogates Jill Biden and Donald Trump Jr. will both campaign in Michigan on Tuesday. 

Further details on Biden's trip were not immediately available, but it follows on the heels of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's campaign speech at a United Auto Workers hall in Warren on Wednesday and a stop in Detroit to talk with steelworkers later in the day. 

ThursdayJill Biden makes Michigan stop on Back to School tour

President Donald Trump is expected to hold a rally near Saginaw on Thursday evening.

His eldest son will then headline a "Make America Great Again" event at Bumpers Landing Boat Club on Lake St. Clair in Harrison Township on Tuesday, where doors open at 5 p.m., with the general-admission event starting at 6 p.m.

Both Biden and Trump are battling for Michigan votes after Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton to win the Great Lakes State by 10,704 votes in 2016.

It was Trump's smallest margin of victory across the country as he became the first Republican presidential nominee to carry Michigan since 1988.

Jill Biden, wife of Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, talks with the media after her visit to Jeffers Pond Elementary School during her Back-To-School tour, Wednesday, Sept.9, 2020 in Prior Lake, Minn.

In Warren on Wednesday, the Democratic nominee slammed Trump's handling of the economy and his response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Biden reflected on reports about a new book by journalist Bob Woodward that Trump minimized the risks of the deadly virus, saying he had lied to the public and "failed to do his job — on purpose." 

"It's beyond despicable," Biden said, later telling reporters he blamed the president for thousands of COVID-19 deaths given the knowledge Trump had early on.

Trump will be in Michigan Thursday evening for his own campaign event at an airport hangar in Freeland, near Saginaw.

Before leaving for Michigan, Trump defended his public-facing comments on the pandemic as a way to keep the public calm. 

"I don't want to jump up and down and start screaming 'Death! Death!'" he told reporters at the White House.  

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany denied Wednesday that Trump intentionally mislead the public about the threat of COVID, which has killed over 200,000 Americans.

"This resident does what good leaders do: It’s stay calm and resolute at a time when you face an insurmountable challenge. That’s what this president has done," she said. 

Jill Biden’s last visit to Michigan was six months ago, when she visited a science center in Lansing with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on March 10, the morning of the Democratic presidential primary. Michigan’s first two COVID-19 cases were announced later that night after her husband won the state’s primary.

Jill Biden participated in two virtual town halls with Michigan leaders Thursday, the latter of which was held with U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, on the status of schools in Michigan as they reopen virtually or in-person during the pandemic.

After 30 years as a teacher, Biden said she still gets excited at the beginning of the school year and strives to uplift the teaching profession even amid the pandemic.

“This year, for educators and parents and students, those feelings of excitement have turned into anxiety,” Biden said.

“The playgrounds are still and some classrooms are dark as the bright young faces that should fill them now are confined to boxes on a computer screen. And while other classrooms are open, they are full of unknowns.”

Biden said the state's schools will need funds for protective gear, students doing remote learning will need access to broadband and other needs.

"This is my 16th year teaching ... and I feel like I can confidently speak for educators everywhere that this has been the most difficult back to school that we've ever experienced but teachers are handling it with such grace," said Karyn Faber, a developmental kindergarten teacher in Lake Orion.

Tuesday marked the first day of in-person classes in six months for the bulk of the state's nearly 540 traditional school districts and 293 charter schools.

Biden praised teachers and schools for finding ways to make the current circumstances work for every student.

“Educators across the state, advocates and parents are bringing every ounce of creativity and care and love to making sure students don’t fall behind,” she said. “Because that’s what we do. We find ways to make something out of nothing.”

mburke@detroitnews.com