President Biden on Saturday spoke at his first political rally since he announced his reelection bid, warning a room of union workers that Republicans want to take jobs away from them.
The president flexed his muscle with unions after a slew of early endorsements came in the day prior. While he argued that he has workers’ backs — messaging that is shaping up to be a staple of his reelection campaign — he said that Republicans in Congress oppose his work so far.
“Most want to get rid of it all. So we’ve got a fight on our hands and my question to you is simple, are you with me in this fight?” Biden said. “When Republicans come after what I’ve done… to try to get rid of all these clean energy investments, they try to stop the plan on infrastructure, they try to do these things.”
“Guess what, they’re coming for your jobs. They’re coming for your jobs. They’re coming for your future,” the president continued. “They’re coming for the future you’re building for your kids and your grandkids.”
The rally in Philadelphia was hosted by union members and about 2,000 workers were in attendance, shouting chants throughout the president’s speech of “let’s go Joe!,” “four more years!,” and “U-S-A!”
“I truly believe this country’s about to take off,” Biden said. “The investments we’ve made these past three years have the power to transform this country for the next five decades. And guess who’s going to be at the center of the transformation? You, you, unions. Working people in this country.”
“In ten years, America’s going to look around and say ‘my God, look what we did, look at the nation’s roads, bridges, airports and all the investments,'” he added.
And, Biden warned that Republicans want to cut taxes for rich Americans by bringing back the Trump-era tax cuts, saying that workers will “carry the burden” if that happens.
Top union group AFL-CIO backed Biden ahead of the rally on Friday, which is the earliest the AFL-CIO has ever voted to endorse in a presidential election.
And, 17 other key unions threw their support behind Biden on the eve of the rally, including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the American Federation of Teachers.
Biden, who touts himself as the most pro-union president in U.S. history, quipped that unions “brung him to the dance,” as he often does when speaking to big labor. He has been working to shore up those endorsements and solidify support from blue collar workers, many of whom connected with former President Trump’s messaging in the 2016 election.
“If the investment bankers in this country went on strike tomorrow, no one would notice. Think about this in a literal sense,” Biden said on Saturday. “But if this room didn’t show up to work tomorrow, on Monday, the whole country will come to a grinding halt. So, tell me, tell me, who matters more in America?”
He called back to his State of the Union address in February, mentioning that some Republicans jeered from the audience and yelled that it wasn’t true that they wanted to cut Social Security and Medicare.
“I never negotiated at a State of the Union before, yeah, that’s a fact,” he quipped.
He vowed to protect Social Security and Medicare, make big corporations and very wealthy pay their fair share and that no one making under $400,000 will pay more in taxes, which he has said throughout his presidency.
The president, who launched his reelection campaign in April, said he is looking forward to the campaign because “we’ve got a story to tell, a record to run on.” He has stepped up his campaign appearances recently, with a fundraiser in Connecticut on Friday evening and fundraisers in California early next week.
Biden was joined in Philadelphia on Saturday by first lady Jill Biden and Pennsylvania Sens. Bob Casey (D) and John Fetterman (D), as well as Rep. Brendan Boyle (D).
Earlier on Saturday, Biden visited the Interstate 95 construction site in Philadelphia with the lawmakers and Gov. Josh Shapiro (D). A section along one of the country’s busiest interstates collapsed in a truck fire earlier this month and construction began this week on creating a new road surface by filling in what was an overpass.
Source: The Hill