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Biden leans into courting union workers by bashing Trump: ‘He looks down on us’

President Biden put his strategy of appealing to union workers on display Wednesday by painting himself as more like them and less like former President Trump.

Biden has spoken to crowds of union workers twice in the past week, using each occasion to bash Trump about his upbringing in working to appeal to the critical voting bloc on a personal level.

“Folks, we all know people like Trump who look down on us. Don’t we? We all know somebody we grew up with like that,” Biden said at the North America’s Building Trade Union (NABTU) National Legislative Conference on Wednesday. “It’s either Scranton values or Mar-a-Lago values.”

Biden painted Trump as a bully to working class Americans while using words like “us” to include himself in the labor movement.

“A defeated former president who sees the world from Mar-a-Lago and bows down to billionaires, who looks down on American union workers. It’s not that he’s not supportive, he looks down on us,” he said.

“Think about the guys you grew up with who you’d like to get into the corner and just give them a straight lift. I’m not suggesting we hit the president,” he added to laughter. “But we all know those guys growing up.”

Last week, he told a conference for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), “my opponent learned the best way to get rich is [to] inherit it.”

The NABTU endorsed Biden on Wednesday, and IBEW had already endorsed him ahead of its conference.

It’s part of Biden’s efforts to rebuild the coalition that won him the White House in 2020, with a particular eye on union workers recently. He often says he’s the most pro-union president in history. He became the first commander in chief last year to join a picket line to strike with autoworkers.

Biden on Wednesday argued to union workers that Trump inherited wealth. Trump notably started his business ventures with a $1 million loan from his father, Fred Trump, and he reportedly received at least $413 million from his father over time.

“People like Donald Trump learned a different lesson. He learned the best way to get rich is inherited. He learned that paying taxes is something working people did, not him. That telling people you’re fired is something to laugh about. Not in my household, not in my neighborhood,” he said. “If you grew up where we grew up, nobody handed you anything.

Biden was referencing Trump’s popular reality show “The Apprentice,” where he would fire contestants with his signature style in a boardroom.

Meanwhile, Biden painted himself as “Middle Class Joe,” a title he has referred to himself as throughout his decades in politics.

“The guy has never worked a day in a working man’s boots,” Biden said, referring to Trump. “By the way, you gave me a pair of boots … I know how to put them on. I still sometimes cut the yard. The Secret Service doesn’t let me do it anymore.”

But 2016 saw a significant shift in union support toward Republicans. That year, union households started to shift from blue to red, helping lead to Trump’s victory in states like Michigan. Biden won that state in 2020, but faces a fresh set of obstacles there in 2024 with protests votes centered on his policy on Israel.

The Biden campaign this cycle has invested heavily in battleground states with a large union presence, including Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.

But, recent polling shows Trump ahead of him in these swing states. Trump holds a 6-point lead over Biden in six of seven states — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona, according to a Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll on Wednesday. He was ahead of Trump by 2 points in Michigan.

Biden has been endorsed by several of the top union groups, including the United Auto Workers and the United Steelworkers, as well as the major union group, AFL-CIO.

The president on Wednesday thanked the NABTU for endorsing him. The group’s president Sean McGarvey said Wednesday that his union will not “waste a lot of time” with supporters of Trump.

The president also praised unions for their work, noting that labor workers are helping to rebuild Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge after the deadly collapse. He often praises union workers for their contribution to the U.S., as well as for being a group that “brung him to the dance,” referencing their support for him in 2020 and during his time as a senator.

“That’s America, that’s the union movement,” he said.

He added another bash at Trump before closing: “Folks, the choice is clear. Donald Trump’s vision of America is one of revenge and retribution.”

Source: The Hill

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