The Latest: Trump says union members 'love' him, mocks Biden


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Latest on former Vice President Joe Biden and his 2020 campaign (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

Joe Biden has used his first public rally as a presidential candidate to accuse Donald Trump of abusing the power of the presidency.

The former vice president said Monday that Trump only represents his political base while ignoring the rest of the nation.

He told hundreds of cheering supporters and union activists in Pittsburgh that the U.S. can thrive through increased economic unity, saying, “We can do all of this without punishing anybody.”

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Biden offered relatively few new themes, instead touching on many of the same promises he made while campaigning for other Democrats around the country in recent months.

But he was unequivocal in his support for unions, saying bolstering them will help Democrats win key battleground states like Pennsylvania in 2020.


4:05 p.m.

Joe Biden is holding his first public rally as a 2020 presidential candidate, appearing at a Pittsburgh union hall — the working-class heart of a state that eluded Democrats in 2016.

The former vice president is expected to speak about rebuilding the middle class, though Saturday’s deadly shooting at a California synagogue promised to stoke Biden’s call for aggressive opposition to white supremacists.

Biden is likely to mention a theme central to his introductory campaign video, in which he criticized President Donald Trump for not taking a more aggressive rhetorical stance against white supremacists after the deadly confrontation in Charlottesville in 2017.

Before Biden took the stage, hundreds of supporters and union activists in the Teamsters Union ballroom chanted: “We want Joe! We want Joe!”


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12 p.m.

President Donald Trump is claiming support from rank-and-file union members as Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden prepares to address an organized labor crowd in Pennsylvania.

Trump tweeted Monday he’ll “never get the support of Dues Crazy union leadership” but added “the members love Trump.”

Pennsylvania is one of the Rust Belt states where many white working class voters, including union members, backed Trump in 2016. Pennsylvania will be a key battleground in the 2020 general election, and Biden is making an early play in the state.

Trump again labels the former vice president “Sleepy Joe Biden” and says Biden and President Barack Obama “didn’t do the job.”

Biden will speak in Pittsburgh after receiving the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Biden announced his candidacy last week, declaring the “soul of this nation” at stake if Trump wins again.


12:20 a.m.

Joe Biden is picking Pennsylvania for his first campaign speech of the presidential race. That signals his hopes of owning what may be the toughest battleground of next year’s election.

The former vice president’s speech to an organized labor crowd Monday afternoon in Pittsburgh comes days after he announced his candidacy and attended a fundraiser in Philadelphia.

For Biden, planting a flag in Pennsylvania makes sense: The longtime former senator from Delaware was born in Pennsylvania, has numerous ties to it and can use his deep inroads with influential state party figures to his advantage.

President Donald Trump’s campaign is already mapping out a strategy to win Pennsylvania for a second time, and the state forms the core of the president’s likeliest path to victory.


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