Former Vice President Joe Biden spent Labor Day in Pennsylvania expressing his support for labor unions and sharing his economic plans for the nation’s middle class. During a virtual town hall from Harrisburg with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, the Democratic presidential nominee credited unions for building America’s middle class and promised he’d have the backs of unions if elected president.
“I’m going to be the strongest labor president we’ve ever had,” Biden said during the town hall, according to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.
Trumka lauded Biden’s career in elected office, saying that the former VP has always been an ally to union members and that a Biden administration would benefit the middle class.
“Joe understands that it’s time to make structural reforms and to build back better,” Trumka said, according to the pooled report.
Trumka added that the two have known each other for 40 years and that his “love of workers” isn’t “some campaign posture,” but rather it’s Biden’s “entire life.”
Biden returned the favor saying that Trumka and labor unions have always had his back, while in office and that he believes it’s important to be vocal in supporting unions.
“We have been friends, not just allies, we’ve been friends for a long time. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have in my corner than you,” Biden said about Trumka, according to the pooled report. “He’s the kind of guy back in neighborhood, you always know that one person you could turn to. That’s Rich. That’s all of you as well. Throughout my entire career, labor has been with me.”
“I’ve never been afraid to say the word union….You can be sure you’ll be hearing that word many times when I’m in the White House,” Biden continued, according to the pooled report. “The words of the president matter.”
While Biden boosting his economic agenda on Monday, President Donald Trump’s campaign slammed the former VP for his past supporting NAFTA and touted the economy under Trump prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Joe Biden isn’t fooling anyone. You don’t have to guess what Joe Biden would do to our economy and to the American worker because we saw it for eight years,” said Hogan Gidley, Trump 2020 national press secretary. “President Trump built the world’s best economy before the global pandemic hit and he is already doing it again.”
Gidley’s statement also described Biden’s support of NAFTA as “foolish,” and said that trade deal hurt American workers.
The Trump campaign has promoted the USMCA trade deal as a central part of their message in Pennsylvania.
Biden batted back at the claims that he won’t have union support in an interview with ABC27.
“That’s why I have the support of all of the unions, number 1,” Biden said in response to a question from ABC27’s Dennis Owens. “Number two, my uncle from Scranton would say I’m union from belt buckle to shoe sole.”
“They are the only power that can take on abuse of power from corporate America,” Biden continued. “I’ve been a strong supporter of unions my entire career.”
Prior to participating in the virtual town hall in Harrisburg, Biden spoke with a group of union workers in Lancaster County.
Biden’s visit is the beginning of yet another busy week in the commonwealth. Vice President Mike Pence will be in western PA on Wednesday, to headline a “Workers for Trump” event in Beaver County and meet with leaders from the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life organization, to rally support for pro-life matters at Cornerstone Ministries in Westmoreland County. On Friday, both President Donald Trump and Biden will be in Shanksville to visit the site of the Flight 93 National Memorial on September 11.
Biden, Pence, and Trump all made appearances in Pennsylvania last week as well.
Last Tuesday, Pence headlined a “Workers for Trump” event in Luzerne County, where he dubbed Northeast Pa., where Biden was born, as “Trump country.” Trump held a rally in Westmoreland County last Thursday where he touted his administration’s energy policies, while boosting a “law and order” message. Last Monday, Biden was in western Pa where the Democratic presidential nominee delivered an address in Pittsburgh pinning the blame on Trump for nationwide violence.
Below is the full virtual town hall.