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Republican candidates for president blamed President Joe Biden for the ongoing auto workers’ strikes as they honed in on the steep inflation rates of the last two years.
Biden became the first president ever to join a picket line on Tuesday as he joined a workers’ strike for 12 minutes, donning a ‘UAW’ hat for the United Auto Workers’ union.
But GOP candidates who showed up to debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, lobbed their attacks during the first question of the night at Biden rather than each other.
They zoned in on the president at first, before the rest of the night descended into chaos with interruptions and squabbling.
The performances from all candidates raises questions of whether any of them can do enough to close the massive gap to the frontrunner Donald Trump.
Ron DeSantis got in his sharpest attack yet on the former president by saying he was ‘missing in action’, while Chris Christie mocked Trump for skipping by calling him ‘Donald Duck’.
The rivals also piled into Vivek Ramaswamy, with Nikki Haley claiming she gets ‘dumber’ every time she hears him speak.
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott was the only candidate to directly criticize the substance of the striking workers’ demands
‘Biden showed up on that picket line. But why are those workers actually there? It’s because of all of the spending that he is pushed through in the economy,’ said former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott was the only candidate to directly criticize the substance of the striking workers’ demands.
‘One of the challenges that we have in the current negotiations is that they want four day French work weeks more money, they want more benefits, working fewer hours, that is simply not going to stand.’
‘Biden showed up on that picket line. But why are those workers actually there? It’s because of all of the spending that he is pushed through in the economy,’ said former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
Auto workers at the Big Three car companies are on strike to demand up to 40 percent higher pay, a four-day work week, better benefit and pension plans – and the ability to represent new electric vehicle battery factories since they believe many traditional car factory workers will have to switch over to EVs.
They point to the salaries of the CEOs of Ford, GM and Stelantis, each of whom make many millions and whose companies have raked in over $20 billion this year.
Haley called for cost-saving moves like eliminating the gas and diesel tax, ‘collapsing’ tax brackets for the middle class, and making the small business tax cuts in the 2017 tax bill permanent – not just corporate tax cuts.
‘Let’s focus on what it takes to get more cash in the pockets of workers,’ she said. ‘That’s when we’ll be able to deal with strikes like this not sitting on a picket line like Joe Biden.’
Biden became the first president ever to join a picket line on Tuesday as he joined a workers’ strike for 12 minutes, donning a ‘UAW’ hat for the United Auto Workers’ union
Former President Trump, at his own appearance at a non-union car facility in Michigan, had a different approach.
Speaking to the camera at the union auto workers, he emphasized that their negotiations over pay wouldn’t mean anything if the country continued on a trajectory towards electric vehicles – both because they need fewer workers to produce and because many of their parts come from China and other countries.
‘I want you to negotiate your contract,’ Trump said. ‘You’re all on the picket lines and everything, but it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference what you get, because in two years you’re all going to be out of business. … You can be loyal to American labor, you can be loyal to the environmental lunatics, but you can’t really be loyal to both. It’s one or the other.’
Trump, who won the votes of a majority of auto union workers in 2016 which launched him to victory in Michigan, said it would be ‘suicide’ for the UAW if it didn’t endorse him.
‘They have to endorse Trump or else they’re committing suicide,’ he said. ‘Committing suicide on the backs of your jobs.’
‘If you can speak to Shawn: “Shawn, endorse Trump and then you can take a nice two-month vacation,'” referring to UAW president Shawn Fain.
Former North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum blamed Biden’s electric vehicle subsidies, as did former Vice President Mike Pence.
‘The reason why people are striking in Detroit is because Joe Biden’s interference with capital markets in with free markets,’ he said, noting that electric vehicle owners can get an up to $7,500 rebate from the government for their purchase.
‘When you decide we’re going to take all of your taxpayer money … subsidize a certain type of vehicle and the batteries come from China, China controls 85% of the rare earth minerals – they’re called rare earth because they’re measured in parts per million. China is moving 100,000 pounds of earth. In Indonesia, in Africa, they’re literally destroying the planet so that we can make and make a battery that’s in a car subsidized here. That’s why they’re striking – because they need two-thirds less workers to build an electric car. Joe Biden – this strike is it Joe Biden’s feet.’
Vivek Ramaswamy warned striking workers not to give in to ‘victimhood.’
‘I understand that hardship is not a choice. But victimhood is a choice and we choose to be victorious in the United States of America. You know, what if I was given advice to those workers I would say go picket in front of the White House,’ he said.
‘What we need is to deliver economic growth in this country. Unlock American energy, drill, frack, burn coal, embrace nuclear energy, put people back to work by no longer paying them more money to stay at home, stabilize the US dollar itself and rescind a majority of those unconstitutional federal regulations.’