Donald Trump called Joe Biden a ‘wretched old vulture’ and a ‘rotten politician’ trying to ‘rape and pillage’ American jobs in a speech to auto workers attacking electric vehicles on Wednesday night.
The former president and frontrunner in the GOP polls largely ignored the second presidential debate, instead launching an attack on Biden and his green policies he says are destroying U.S. manufacturing.
As his GOP rivals prepared to take the stage in California, frontrunner Trump told auto workers he’ll protect their jobs, battle environmental ‘lunatics’ and said Joe Biden was only interested in making his family.
‘For decades you’ve watched rotten politicians like Biden treat American jobs as disposable, and American workers as expendable,’ he told supporters in Detroit.
‘They sat back and got rich by taking bribes from another country to rape and pillage our jobs,’ he added.
‘The only time Joe Biden has ever gotten his hands dirty is when he’s taking cash from foreign countries.’
Biden is facing an impeachment inquiry from House Republicans over allegations he benefitted from Hunter BIden’s foreign business contacts. Biden says he has never worked with his son on business matters.
Donald Trump seaking to supporters in Detroit
The former president called Biden ‘the most corrupt president.’ But Trump, who is facing multiple federal indictments along with state charges in New York and Georgia, quickly added: ‘I shouldn’t have said that. I’m going to get indicted again!’
The crowd roared with laughter and cheered him on.
‘Crooked Joe Biden is back,’ Trump declared.
In his remarks, he kept his focus on Biden and didn’t mention his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination.
‘Under Joe Biden … the workers of America – to put it nicely – are getting a screwed,’ Trump said to a cheering crowd. ‘I want a future that protects American labor, not foreign labor.’
The former president is speaking to supporters and union workers a day after President Biden visited the battleground state. His crowd were waving signs that read ‘Auto Workers for Trump’ and ‘Union Workers for Trump.’
‘Yesterday Joe Biden came to Michigan to pose for photos at the picket line, but it’s his policies that send workers to the unemployment line,’ Trump said.
He wasted no time attacking Biden, hitting the president repeatedly for his environmental agenda, arguing Biden’s push for electric cars would backfire for American workers.
‘You can be loyal to American labor, or you can be loyal to the environmental lunatics,’ he sad. ‘But you can’t really be loyal to both – it’s one or the other.’
He added: ‘They say the happiest day you buy an electric car is the first 10 minutes you drive it and then you panic because you don’t know where you’ll charge it.’
Trump is speaking at Drake Enterprises, a non-unionized auto parts supplier about a half-hour outside Detroit. The company makes gear for heavy-duty trucks, as well as components that go into cars made by General Motors and Ford.
He is courting the endorsement of the United Auto Workers, who endorsed Biden in 2020 but haven’t picked a candidate for the 2024 contest.
‘Do me a favor – just get your union guys your leaders – to endorse me,’ Trump said as the crowd broke into applause.
And he vowed, to cheers from the crowd: ‘I will not under any circumstances allow the American auto industry to die. I want it to thrive.’
Donald Trump arrives in rainy Detroit
The crowd was made up of a few hundred invited guests, which included some United Auto Workers, some Drake Enterprise employees and other supporters.
Trump toured the factory before making remarks.
‘We’re going to see the UAW,’ Trump said upon landing in Detroit. But it’s unclear if he supporters the striking workers’ demands, which include a pay raise, shorter work days and other concessions.
Trump’s stop in Detroit comes on the heels of Biden’s visit to the state on Tuesday, where the president joined striking auto workers on the picket line and supported their bid for a 40% pay raise.
Outside the venue, dueling groups of pro-Trump supporters and Trump protesters shouted at each other with cars honking as they raced by on the highway. A plane flew overhead with the message ‘Trump Sold Us Out.’ A drum line marched through cheering for the former president.
Trump leads by double digits in polls of the Republican presidential primary contest.
With a massive lead, his campaign appears to be pivoting toward the general election fight, which increasingly looks like a rematch between Trump and Biden.
Both he and Joe Biden are working to win over blue-collar voters in the critical battleground state. Trump won Michigan in the 2016 election, beating Hillary Clinton. But Biden took it back for Democrats in 2020, beating Trump.
Trump, however, wants to win it back along with the Democratic strongholds of Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Those three Rustbelt states were key to his victory in 2016 and to Biden’s victory in 2020.
Both men are working on their appeal to working-class voters: Biden emphasizing his Scranton roots and longtime ties to unions and the middle class. Trump promised to resurrect dying manufacturing towns and blasted global trade deals.
The former president has taken some heat for going to a non-union operation and for the fact his speech is invitation-only.
His campaign said Trump is fighting to protect all middle-class jobs, not just those of union members.
‘President Trump is fighting to protect the jobs of all working middle-class voters in Michigan, union and non-union alike. Joe Biden meanwhile wants all working middle-class voters in Michigan, union and non-union alike, to transition to the unemployment line,’ Trump adviser Jason Miller said.
Trump’s speech comes as his Republicans rivals are gathering in California for the second GOP primary debate
President Joe Biden walked the picket line with striking auto workers in Michigan
A person holds a sign featuring Donald Trump’s mugshot outside of his rally location
Trump has long been critical of Biden’s push for electronic vehicles and the president’s green agenda. Trump argues that would put more auto workers in the unemployment line.
Miller noted that ‘every autoworker in Michigan knows that Crooked Joe Biden’s insane EV mandate will ‘finish off’ the U.S. auto industry, and union leadership has been warning of this threat for years.’
Biden, however, argues his clean-energy agenda, including that shift toward electric vehicles, will create new manufacturing jobs. He has set a goal that half of all new vehicle sales be electric by 2030.
The United Auto Workers (UAW), which endorsed Biden in the 2020 election, hasn’t endorsed a candidate yet in the 2024 contest.
UAW workers are worried that new battery manufacturing plants for electric vehicles won’t be unionized and that is a key concern for them in this round of negotiations with automakers.
United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain (left) joined President Joe Biden on the picket line in Michigan on Tuesday
Meanwhile, UAW President Shawn Fain took a swipe at Trump, saying he serves a ‘billionaire class.’
Speaking to CNN ahead of Trump’s touchdown in Detroit, Fain said: ‘I see no point in meeting with him, because I don’t think the man has any bit of care about what our workers stand for, what the working class stands for.’
‘He serves a billionaire class and that’s what’s wrong this country,’ Fain noted.
He also said that ‘I find the pathetic irony that the former president is going to hold a rally for union members at a non-union business.’
He is not the only autoworker frustrated with the former president.
Some are angry at Trump for what they see as unfulfilled promises of automotive jobs – vows he made as president that never came to pass.
And they point to Trump’s promise in 2017 that manufacturing jobs at the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, are ‘all coming back.’ Instead the plant closed in 2019.
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