President Joe Biden held his first rally ahead of the 2024 election in Philadelphia, where he stressed his economic accomplishment and his pro-union ideology.
Biden, the nation’s oldest president, is seeking a second term in office.
“I’m looking forward to this campaign,” said Biden, per Fox Bangor. “We’ve got a record to run on.”
Biden touted the Build Back Batter Act as an example of his success while in the White House. He said the bill reduced insurance premiums and reduced the cost of prescription drugs.
Approximately 1,000 union workers attended the rally at the Philadelphia Convention Center on June 17. The day before, several major unions, including the AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, endorsed Biden. AFL-CIO alone represents 12.5 million workers.
“The first-of-its-kind joint endorsement among the unions and the backdrop of hundreds of workers are part of a meticulously choreographed effort to show the support of labor behind what Biden himself calls the most pro-union president in history,” reports NBC News.
Biden has presented himself as an ally of the working man and said he “created 13 million new jobs” since becoming president, including 800,000 manufacturing jobs.
“Look, folks, I’ve said many times: Wall Street didn’t build America, you did,” Biden told the crowd during his address. “I’ve been saying this for a long time, long before I ran for president. The middle class built this country, and you built the middle class.”
“This is not a criticism of them, but if the investment bankers in this country went on strike tomorrow, no one would much notice in this room,” he said. “No, think about this in a literal sense. But if this room didn’t show up for work tomorrow or Monday, the whole country would come to a grinding halt.”
Biden stressed his impact on the economy and his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I didn’t just come into office with a theory. I came with a plan. And it started with passing the American Rescue Plan — a plan to vaccinate the nation and get our economy going again,” he said. “And that’s exactly what it did. It put money in people’s pockets, providing a … lifeline for businesses to stay afloat. And one study concluded that it kept 7 million people in their homes — not losing their homes.”
In 2020, Biden headquartered his presidential campaign in Philadelphia. He won Pennsylvania, which supported President Donald Trump in 2016.
Several union leaders have publicly commended Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, said Biden and Harris are the “most pro-labor, pro-public education leaders our country has seen in modern history.”
“Joe and Kamala understand in their souls the challenges families face, and how important it is to their dignity to earn a decent living and have a shot at owning a home, or securing a retirement, or affording college,” she said in her organization’s June 16th endorsement. “They know union membership can be transformative.”
Biden’s rally coincides with environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s surge in the poll. Kennedy is currently challenging Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination. A Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll reported Kennedy currently has 15% support ahead of his party’s nomination.