The ongoing feud between America’s largest automotive workers union and the Biden White House has frayed relationships to a breaking point, allowing former President Donald Trump to capitalize with a recent move that has President Joe Biden’s advisors furious that they had been outmaneuvered.
Earlier this week, President Trump announced his intention to visit Michigan, a key swing state and site of the first strike in 100 years to affect all three of the nation’s major auto companies. His visit will culminate in a speech to union members with the United Auto Workers and is timed to coincide with the second GOP presidential debate, which he will be skipping. President Biden, who has yet to visit with union members, has fallen behind in the race to keep blue-collar Michigan workers in his corner, advisors told POLITICO.
“Trump scooped us. Now if we announce we’re going, it looks like we’re just going because of Trump,” a Democratic strategist said. “We waited too long. That’s the challenge.”
“We should not underestimate Donald Trump,” Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., told Politico. “He’s a survivor and this is going to be a very hard-fought campaign.”
“We need a message to working-class Americans,” Khanna continued. “Right now, they’re still hurting in terms of gas prices, food prices, housing costs, utilities costs, and they don’t feel like their wages are going up fast enough, and they feel like the very wealthy are getting too much of the rewards. That’s what I heard on the picket lines.”
One union advisor called President Trump’s move “kinda genius” in an admission that indicates the traditionally Democratic voting bloc is now up for grabs.
Asked for comment, the Biden campaign blustered that President Trump’s policies would be bad for working Americans.
“Donald Trump’s anti-worker, anti-union record is one of the key reasons Michigan rejected Trump in 2020 and sent Joe Biden to the White House,” said spokesperson Ammar Moussa. “His failed presidency is defined by auto companies shuttering their doors and shipping American jobs overseas while lining the pockets of the wealthy and big corporations.”
The calls for President Biden to pay more attention to Michigan reached a fever pitch this week when Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) told CNN viewers that Michigan is a purple state that Democrats should not be taking for granted.
“It is a very competitive state. And Donald Trump would do well in Michigan right now. The election’s a year away, we’re at a very volatile time, but I’m not taking Michigan for granted and I’m going to say I said that very strongly to many people,” she added.
Asked if she thinks President Joe Biden’s team is taking the state for granted, she replied simply, “I think we’ve gotten their attention.”