The first official rally of his final political campaign will be a moment for Biden to highlight recent economic successes that underline his case for four more years in the White House.
It may also provide the first opportunity for criticism Former President Donald Trump Since his indictment, arrest and detention — an episode that provides a window into the chaos Biden warns of if Trump is president again.
Biden has admonished top Democrats To remain silent in a legal case, That’s unlikely to change when he speaks to union groups Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia.
But aides say that hasn’t stopped Biden and other surrogates from continuing to criticize Trump’s policies and character as he leads the Republican primary.
Still, the centerpiece of Biden’s opening campaign salvo will be the economy, anchored by recent endorsements from top labor groups. Despite uncertainty about the long-term global economic outlook, Biden hopes more Americans will come to associate him with economic gains, including a strong labor market and growth.
Polls show many voters give Biden poor marks for his handling of the economy, especially since prices rose after the pandemic. However, recent figures show that inflation is easing and fears of an imminent recession have faded.
Biden said more Americans will come to reward his economic responsibility as he begins to reap the benefits of some of his signature legislative achievements, including a new infrastructure law.
The AFL-CIO was among the labor groups that endorsed Biden ahead of his speech, saying it was the first step in the presidential election cycle to endorse a candidate.
“There’s no doubt that Joe Biden is the most pro-union president in our lifetime,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “From bringing manufacturing jobs to America to protecting our pensions and making historic investments in infrastructure, clean energy and education, we’ve never seen a president work so tirelessly to rebuild our economy from the bottom up and from the middle.”
Biden has long relied on union support for his political aspirations, and made his first stop after announcing his re-election bid at the Legislative Conference of North America’s construction unions in Washington.
“I make no apologies for being labeled the most pro-union president in American history,” he told the panel.
Not all unions have thrown their support behind Biden’s re-election bid. The powerful United Auto Workers said it stopped endorsing Biden last month, citing concerns over his policies promoting the transition to electric vehicles, according to a union memo.
The UAW has more than 400,000 members, and Biden has touted its support in the past. Last year he called American auto workers “the most skilled auto workers in the world.” The group’s membership is largely concentrated in Michigan, a presidential battleground state.
Biden also rankled union members last year when he signed legislation to avert a nationwide rail strike — which he said was necessary to prevent the shutdown of critical freight.
Biden’s campaign has leaned on his economic record, including last month’s release of a 60-second ad titled “Backbone.” The spot struck a populist tone, with audio of the president talking about “investing in forgotten places and people” and a narrator ticking off the administration’s work to improve infrastructure and productivity in the country.
“Joe Biden is building an economy that leaves no town, no city, no American behind,” says the narrator.