US President Joe Biden will join the picket line with striking auto workers on a historic trip to Michigan Tuesday, putting him on a collision course with likely 2024 election rival Donald Trump who visits a day later.
Democrat Biden, 80, is believed to be the first sitting president to walk the picket and says he wants to show solidarity with workers who have walked out on Detroit’s “Big Three” carmakers.
Republican Trump had previously announced a visit to Michigan on Wednesday, and their dueling trips have ensured that a strike that already threatened major economic disruption will now become a political battleground.
For Biden, battling increasingly dismal poll ratings and struggling to get his message on the economy across to voters, the trip is a golden opportunity to woo blue-collar workers.
“This is going to be a historic trip,” White house Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a briefing on Monday, adding that it would “underscore that the president is the most the most pro-union president in history.”
She insisted Biden’s visit to the picket line in Wayne County, Michigan, was “absolutely not” influenced by Trump’s planned trip to the state the following day.
Trump, who looks set for a rematch with Biden in November next year, has accused Biden of copying him by going to the frontline of the auto workers strike.
Biden “saw that I was going to Michigan this week (Wednesday!), so the Fascists in the White House just announced he would go there tomorrow,” Trump said in a post on social media.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller said Biden’s visit was “nothing more than a cheap photo op.”