Former U.S. President Donald Trump returns to the courtroom after a break during his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on April 30, 2024. (EDUARDO MUNOZ/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(WASHINGTON) — Former President Donald Trump is back on the campaign trail, hitting two battleground states Wednesday after severe weather and his legal calendar have prevented him from holding his traditional campaign stops for weeks.

Trump will first campaign in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and then head to Freeland, Michigan, for an evening rally, packing his campaign schedule on his only regularly scheduled off day from court during the week.

It’ll be the first time Trump has held a rally since the start of his criminal hush money trial in New York. The former president was scheduled to hold a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina, two weeks ago but had to cancel it shortly before he was scheduled to take the stage due to incoming severe weather, and was only able to participate in a campaign fundraiser in Charlotte earlier that afternoon.

“I’m going to go into the icebox now and sit for about eight hours or nine hours,” Trump complained Tuesday as he entered his third week of the trial. “I’d much rather be in Georgia. I’d much rather be in Florida. I’d much rather be in states that are in play.”

Rather than campaigning in key swing states, Trump has instead been forced to make New York City his political stomping grounds, making statements outside the Manhattan courtroom and holding stops around the city in between his mandatory court appearances.

Trump stopped by a bodega in Harlem on April 16, two days into the trial, and a construction site in Manhattan last week to criticize Democratic policies in the area but also using it as a chance for reporters to shout questions at him. He has also allowed select media to capture arrivals from foreign leaders he has welcomed as he resides in Trump Tower for the duration of his court proceedings.

The choreographed stops highlight how Trump has had to balance being both a defendant and a presidential candidate.

Aside from the quick stops in New York and a couple of media interviews, Trump has had to rely on talking to reporters in the hallways of court; however, he has kept his statements relatively brief.

Judge Juan Merchan on Tuesday morning fined Trump a total of $9,000 for nine violations of the case’s limited gag order, which prevents Trump from targeting potential witnesses and others involved in the case. Trump was ordered to pay the fine by the close of business Friday, and all nine of his social media posts cited by Merchan in his contempt of court ruling were removed.

Meanwhile, both President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their respective spouses have been campaigning aggressively in key states like Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida.

Wednesday will be Trump’s first time back in front of a large audience where, according to his campaign, he plans to attack Biden on the economy and crime, with Trump’s legal battles at the forefront.

Wisconsin and Michigan are states Biden flipped in 2020 from Trump, and key states that remain close heading into 2024. According to 538’s polling averages, Trump leads Biden in Wisconsin by close to 3 points, and just over a point in Michigan.

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