Biden assails ‘Trumpies’ in Labour Day battleground pitches

The US president hopes labour union members will turn out in force for his party in November polls



US President Joe Biden. — AP
US President Joe Biden. — AP

By AP

Published: Tue 6 Sep 2022, 12:30 AM

US President Joe Biden excoriated “MAGA Republicans, the extreme right and Trumpies” on Monday, pitching his Labour Day appeals to union members he hopes will turn out in force for his party in November.

“The middle class built America,” Biden told a workers’ gathering at park grounds in Milwaukee. “Everybody knows that. But unions built the middle class.”

Later on Monday, he was flying to Pittsburgh for the city’s parade — returning to Pennsylvania for the third time in less than a week and just two days after his predecessor, Donald Trump, staged his own rally in the state.

The unofficial start of fall, Labour Day also traditionally starts a political busy season where campaigns scramble to excite voters for Election Day on November 8. That’s when control of the House and Senate, as well some of the country’s top governorships, will be decided.

Trump spoke on Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre, near Scranton, where Biden was born. The president made his own Wilkes-Barre trip last week to discuss increasing funding for police, decry GOP criticism of the FBI after the raid on Trump’s Florida estate and to argue that new, bipartisan gun measures can help reduce violent crime.

Two days after that, Biden went to Independence Hall in Philadelphia for a prime-time address denouncing the “extremism” of Trump’s fiercest supporters.

Trump has endorsed candidates in key races around the country and Biden is warning that some Republicans now believe so strongly in Trumpism that they are willing to undermine core American values to promote it. The president said on Thursday that “blind loyalty to a single leader, and a willingness to engage in political violence, is fatal to democracy”.

Trump responded during his Saturday rally that Biden is “an enemy of the state”.

On Monday, Biden said “I’m not talking about all Republicans” but singled out those who have taken Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign cry to dangerous or hateful lengths. He highlighted episodes like last year’s mob attack on the US Capitol.

Biden told the Milwaukee rally that many in the GOP have “chosen to go backwards, full of anger, violence, hate, division”.

“But together we can, and we must, choose a different path forward,” Biden said. “A future of unity and hope. we’re going to choose to build a better America.”

The crowd jeered as Biden chided Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin for voting against a Democratic-backed measure meant to lower prescription drug prices.

The president also returned to another theme that was a centrepiece of his 2020 campaign, that labour unions boosted the middle class.

Unions endorsements helped Biden overcome disastrous early finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire to win the Democratic primary, and eventually the White House. He has since continued to praise labour unions — even though many voters without college degrees remain among Trump’s strongest bloc of supporters.


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