Biden trolls ‘the last guy’ Trump over jobs, China and pensions in Labor Day speech

‘When the last guy was here, he looked at the world from Park Avenue. I look at it from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I look at it from Claymont, Delaware,’ the president says in the City of Brotherly Love

Kelly Rissman
Monday 04 September 2023 21:31 BST
Biden comments on 'friend' Mitch McConnell's health

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


While speaking to the Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 19 in Philadelphia, President Joe Biden blasted political rival Donald Trump over his policies while never referring to his predecessor by name.

“We’re turning things around because of you,” Mr Biden told the crowd. “When the last guy was here, you were shipping jobs to China. Now we’re bringing jobs home from China.

“When the last guy was here, your pensions were at risk. We helped save millions of pensions with your help,” Mr Biden continued, before taking a jab at Mr Trump’s luxurious lifestyle: “When the last guy was here, he looked at the world from Park Avenue. I look at it from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I look at it from Claymont, Delaware.”

He continued, “all my time in public life, I’ve been referred to as ‘Middle-class Joe.’ I guess they thought that was somehow not very complimentary. Well, guess what? That’s who I am. It doesn’t mean you’re not sophisticated because you’re middle class. It means you work like hell.”

The president added that “the guy who held this job before me was just one of two presidents in history ... that left office with fewer jobs in America than when he got elected office. By the way, do you know who the other one was? Herbert Hoover.”

Hoover left office in 1933 as the Depression took hold in the US, following the Wall Street Crash four years earlier.

Mr Biden also said of his predecessor “the great real estate builder, the last guy here – he didn’t build a damn thing.”

The president was speaking ahead of a potential strike from the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, as it is demanding a pay raise, a shorter work week and restoration of traditional pensions from General Motors, Stellantis and Ford. Tensions are rising as the contract between UAW and the three automakers is set to expire on 14 September.

About the likelihood of a strike, Mr Biden said on Monday, “I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

The UAW endorsed Mr Biden in the 2020 election, but they have yet to do so ahead of the 2024 election.

Mr Biden’s attacks about Mr Trump’s life of luxury also arrive a week after New York Attorney General Letitia James alleged that Mr Trump fraudulently inflated his net worth by as much as $2.2bn in one year and by hundreds of millions of dollars in other years over a decade. Her office is suing the former president and the Trump Organization; the trial is set to begin 2 October.

“At the end of the day, this is a documents case, and the documents leave no shred of doubt” that Mr Trump’s statements of financial condition “do not even remotely reflect the ‘estimated current value’ of his assets as they would trade between well-informed market participants,” she added.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in