Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden ripped into President Donald Trump in an economic address to the nation on Thursday afternoon in battleground Pennsylvania, seeking to draw sharp, and at times, populist contrasts to the president.
“Donald Trump may believe pitting Americans against Americans will benefit him,” Biden said in Dunmore, just outside of his hometown of Scranton. “I don’t.”
“Donald Trump loves to talk... and talk… and talk,” Biden added. “But after three and a half years of big promises, what do the American people have to show for all the talk?”
The former vice president’s speech comes as he unveiled a plan to address the country’s economic crisis that has put at least 18 million Americans out of work. Leaning into shades of economic populist messaging, Biden sought to differentiate himself with the president on everything from his handling of middle class and working class families to divisive rhetoric and corruption in the White House. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Trump “has been almost singularly focused on the stock market,” Biden said. “The Dow and Nasdaq. Not you and not your families.”
“Trump’s cronies and pals, they’ve been the big winners,” he said.
Biden focused a portion of his speech on strengthening the country’s “industrial base,” strikingly similar messaging to what helped propel Trump to victory in the state four years ago. In 2016, Trump won Pennsylvania against Hillary Clinton by less than one percentage point.
Earlier on Thursday, Biden's campaign released a sweeping economic recovery blueprint called the “Build Back Better” plan, which would create millions of union jobs with a specific government mandate to “buy American” products.
In Dunmore, Biden elaborated on elements of his $700 billion proposal, which would include a $400 billion federal government investment over four years in purchasing products and services made by American workers, as well as a $300 billion investment in new research and development in technology made in the United States. In the coming weeks, he said he expects to release the second part of his economic plan, which will include new proposals towards clean energy and infrastructure.
“Determination. Resilience. Grit,” Biden said. “The strength to get up no matter how many times you’ve been knocked down. Respect for hard work. And for the people who do it. Those are the values I grew up with. And those are the values I’ll take with me into the Oval Office.”
Towards the end of his remarks, Biden also addressed the president’s recent defense of the Confederate flag on Monday on Twitter, drawing the focus back towards his home state that both campaigns see as a must-win in November.
“Trump cynically claims that he is defending America’s heritage by embracing the Confederate flag,” Biden said. “Do you think he has any clue that 33,000 Pennsylvanians died in the Civil War fighting against everything that flag stood for? I see a different America than Trump.”