Joe Biden joined striking auto workers in Michigan in a historic first for a sitting US president, a day before rival Donald Trump makes his own bid for the swing state’s votes.
Wearing a baseball cap emblazoned with the logo of the United Auto Workers union (UAW), the 80-year-old Democrat told flag-waving workers through a megaphone that he was on their side. Trump, a Republican, will visit Michigan on Wednesday, turning the strike into a bitter early confrontation between the two frontrunners candidates for the elections, which are more than a year away.
Biden told workers that the “Big Three” automakers — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis — “are doing incredibly well, and guess what, you should be doing incredibly well, too.”
“You deserve a significant raise, which you need, as well as other benefits,” he said to cheers from the crowd.
White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre described the trip as “historic.”
“Today will mark the first time a sitting president has visited a protest line in modern times,” Jean-Pierre told reporters on board Air Force One, BGNES reported. “This is an important message to America’s auto workers.”
UAW leader Sean Fein met Biden on the Detroit tarmac and accompanied him to the protest.
For Biden, the trip is an excellent opportunity to appeal to workers and union members.