The visit comes as the president and his predecessor fight for blue-collar support in the 2024 presidential race.
President Joe Biden traveled to Michigan on Feb. 1 to meet with members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) to celebrate the group’s endorsement for his reelection campaign.
The visit came as both the sitting president and his predecessor, Donald Trump, are vying for blue-collar worker support in the 2024 presidential election.
The UAW officially endorsed Biden’s 2024 reelection campaign on Jan. 24. The endorsement came a few months after President Biden visited a Michigan picket line in September 2023 in support of striking workers.
UAW President Shawn Fain was initially hesitant to endorse the president, but later stated that the president had backed their causes and “stood with us in our fights.”
“We need to know who’s going to sit in the most powerful seat in the world and help us win as the united working class,” Mr. Fain said when he announced the endorsement last month. “We will reelect Joe Biden.”
However, during an interview with Fox Business, Mr. Fain said most UAW members would not vote for President Biden in November.
“Let me be clear about this. A great majority of our members will not vote for President Biden. Yes, some will, but that’s the reality of this. The majority of our members are going to vote for their paychecks; they’re going to vote for an economy that works for them,” he said.
Since the endorsement, the union leader and the president have both taken shots at former President Trump.
“So … apparently losing the UAW endorsement to Joe Biden has left Donald Trump’s wounded ego with quite the SCAB,” the Biden campaign stated on Jan. 28 in response to President Trump’s comment about the union leader.
The former president accused Mr. Fain of selling out the U.S. automobile industry to China and supporting the electric vehicle (EV) push, which he claimed harmed American auto workers.
“Shawn Fain doesn’t understand this or have a clue. Get rid of this dope & vote for DJT. I will bring the automobile industry back to our country,” President Trump wrote on Jan. 28 in a Truth Social post.
In a recent statement, Ammar Moussa, a rapid response director for the Biden campaign, accused former President Trump of presenting himself as a pro-worker.
“Donald Trump pretends to be pro-worker then sides with management and does nothing while factories close and jobs are lost,” Mr. Moussa said on Feb. 1. “Trump’s long record of attacking unions and shipping jobs overseas while lining the pockets of his rich buddies speaks for itself.”
UAW attracted national attention in September after thousands of its members went on a strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers, Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis.
The strikes ended in the last week of October when the automakers reached agreements that substantially matched the UAW’s demands, including significant pay raises, cost-of-living adjustments, the right to strike over future plant closures, and bolstered terms for temporary employees.
On Wednesday, former President Trump met with members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union in Washington to seek their endorsement for the presidency.
The union has invited all presidential candidates to meet before it makes an endorsement.
“Stranger things have happened. Usually, a Republican wouldn’t get that endorsement,” Mr. Trump said of his prospects of getting an endorsement after the meeting.
Biden Angers Michigan Muslims
President Biden’s low-key visit to Michigan led to speculation about whether the Biden campaign aimed to minimize the potential for protests in a critical battleground state with the highest concentration of Arab Americans, who are increasingly dissatisfied with the president’s support for Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.
When asked about whether the president would have meetings with Arab American community leaders during the visit, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that there were no scheduled meetings.
Recently, protesters have disrupted President Biden’s rallies on multiple occasions, creating a big challenge for the president’s campaign.
The interruptions began on Jan. 8 during his speech at Charleston’s historic Mother Emanuel Church. Protesters demanded an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, an area where Israeli forces are continuing to fight back after Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on Oct. 7.
At another campaign rally in Virginia on Jan. 23, centered on abortion rights, President Biden’s 22-minute speech was interrupted over a dozen times by protesters criticizing his handling of the Israel–Hamas war. On both occasions, supporters in the crowd chanted “four more years” to drown out the protesters.
Young voters and Muslims are voicing their concerns about the situation in Gaza, causing some Democrats to worry about the party’s appeal to these demographics.
Breth Brejle contributed to this report.