Former President Donald Trump appeared to take credit for President Joe Biden’s decision to stand alongside the United Auto Workers (UAW) next week, claiming that the president never would have agreed to join the picket line if Trump hadn’t already made plans to visit union members.
UAW President Shawn Fain called on Biden earlier in the day Friday to show up in support of the union as it plans to expand its strike against the “Big Three” automakers in the United States next week. Fain announced during a Facebook Live session that an additional 5,600 UAW members across 20 states will join in on the strike that began last week. The expanded strike will only target General Motors and Stellantis—Fain said that conversations with Ford have progressed and that the automaker would be spared from additional strikes.
A few hours later, Biden announced that he would be joining UAW members in Michigan on Tuesday to “stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create.” The consensus among historians is that this will likely mark the first time that a president has decided to join a picket line in U.S. history.
“It’s time for a win-win agreement that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with well-paid UAW jobs,” Biden wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
Trump’s senior campaign adviser Jason Miller dismissed Biden’s decision as “nothing more than a cheap photo op” in a statement Friday evening, adding that the “only reason Biden is going to Michigan on Tuesday is because President Trump announced he is going on Wednesday.”
“If President Trump had said nothing, Biden would be giving UAW workers in Michigan ‘the East Palestine treatment,'” read Miller’s statement, which was shared with Newsweek.
After a Norfolk Southern train that was carrying harmful chemicals derailed in eastern Ohio in early February, Trump made a visit to East Palestine before Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg had a chance to meet with the impacted community. Biden has still yet to visit.
Trump also posted to his Truth Social account in response to Biden’s plan to stand with the UAW, arguing that the automobile industry is “being sold down the drain” by the White House push toward electric vehicles (EV) and greener emissions rates. The former president has repeatedly claimed that moving toward EVs would be devastating for autoworkers and truckers. Fain, however, previously praised the Biden administration for its efforts.
UAW—which represents over 150,000 autoworkers in the U.S.—has yet to announce its endorsement for the 2024 presidential election. Biden and Trump lead their respective parties ahead of the primary elections. In 2020, the union gave their endorsement to Biden.
Trump plans on visiting with UAW members in Detroit, Michigan, on the same night as the second GOP primary debate. The former president also passed on the first Republican debate in August.
Fain denounced Trump’s visit earlier this week, writing in a statement Tuesday, “We can’t keep electing billionaires and millionaires that don’t have any understanding what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to get by and expecting them to solve the problems of the working class.”