Biden touts economic revitalization plan in Erie, Pa.: ‘The choice couldn’t be more stark, the stakes couldn’t be higher’
By Amy Wang
Former vice president Joe Biden on Saturday continued his efforts to win back voters that had previously supported him and Barack Obama, visiting Erie County, a historically Democratic county in Pennsylvania that narrowly swung for President Trump in 2016.
There, Biden delivered a speech focused on the economy and the coronavirus pandemic’s disproportionate impact on working-class people. He accused Trump of only being able to “see the world from Park Avenue,” whereas he said his perspective was “from Scranton,” a contrast Biden has sought to emphasize in recent weeks. He warned the crowd that Trump was seeking to destroy the Affordable Care Act, even as the coronavirus pandemic was increasing the need for access to health-care coverage.
“America deserves a president who understands what people are going through,” said Biden. “You’re facing real challenges right now and the last thing you need is a president who exacerbates them.”
Biden held his event in a parking lot outside of the training facility of the United Association Plumbers Local 27, which he had toured earlier. After he was introduced, Biden did a light jog up to the lectern and, unlike at other recent campaign appearances, removed his disposable surgical mask before speaking to a socially distanced crowd. Behind him was an array of different kinds of pipes.
He spoke of visiting other parts of Pennsylvania — this marked Biden’s 11th trip to the state since early summer — and repeatedly hearing stories of workers who were suffering.
“My heart goes out to everyone struggling in this economic crisis. Simple neglect on the part of this administration,” Biden said. “Eleven million jobs lost since the beginning of this crisis and still have not come back. Temporary layoffs have turned into permanent layoffs. We’re still down 674,000 manufacturing jobs nationwide, since the crisis started, and more than 40,000 manufacturing jobs here in Pennsylvania.”
Biden said he would invest $2 trillion in infrastructure and clean energy in his efforts to revive American manufacturing if elected. He vowed to eliminate Trump’s tax cut for the ultrawealthy but also promised not to raise taxes on anybody making less than $400,000.
Biden warned of Trump’s efforts to encourage “chicanery” at polling places and walked attendees through exact steps for how to fill out and return a mail-in ballot. He closed with a message of unity, saying he would govern “as an American president” and work as hard for those who didn’t support him as those who did, specially thanking former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, a Republican who had endorsed him.
“We may not agree on everything, but we agree on this: This is a moment to put country above party,” Biden said.