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Biden Makes Appeal To Working Americans In Train Tour Of Ohio, Pennsylvania

Biden supporters stand on an overpass to watch their candidate's train station rally in Downtown Cleveland. [Gayle Putrich / ideastream]
Biden supporters stand on an overpass above their candidate's train station rally in Downtown Cleveland.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden boarded a train from the Downtown Cleveland lakefront Wednesday morning headed for Pennsylvania, with a stop in Alliance, Ohio.

He spent the previous night in Northeast Ohio following the first presidential debate, then joined his wife Jill at a morning campaign rally by the Amtrak station.

In a speech meant to appeal to “working people,” Biden criticized President Donald Trump for the closure of the General Motors plant in Lordstown and said the president lied to autoworkers in the Mahoning Valley.

“You remember what he said? He said, ‘Don’t move,’” Biden reminded the crowd about Trump’s 2017 rally in Youngstown. “‘Don’t sell your house because no Ohio factory will shut down in Donald Trump’s America.’”

The last Chevy Cruze rolled off the Lordstown assembly line in March 2019, and GM laid off some 1,500 workers.

Biden asked the crowd of about two dozen supporters gathered along the train tracks whether they believed the president understands the problems they’re facing.

“Does he care? Does he try to walk in your shoes to understand what’s going on in your life?” he asked. “Or does he just ignore you and all the folks all over America who are in a similar situation?”

Biden delivered a stump speech at the Amtrak station in Cleveland before boarding the train headed for Alliance. [Gayle Putrich / ideastream]

He continued his theme, pointing to a New York Times story detailing that Trump paid $750 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and another in The Atlantic alleging the president referred to members of the U.S. military as “suckers.”

“He doesn’t pay his fair share in taxes. He says that makes him smart,” Biden said. “What does that make you, make me, and millions of hard working Americans – decent people who pay the taxes? Are we the suckers? Are we stupid because we go by the rules?”

Trump has denied making such statements about veterans. During Tuesday night’s debate, in response to a question from moderator Chris Wallace, Trump said he had paid millions in taxes but did not confirm the specifics of his income tax payment.

Biden cast the election as a referendum on values – Cleveland values versus Park Avenue values, he said Wednesday morning.

“But it’s also about something deeper,” he continued. “Can these parents look their kids in the eye and say, ‘Honey, everything’s going to be OK.’”

Biden and his wife Jill wave to supporters standing on an overpass above the train station. [Gayle Putrich / ideastream]

At a stop in Alliance, Biden responded to questions about Tuesday night’s debate, saying he would tell the Proud Boys to “cease and desist” in contrast to the president’s call for them to “stand by.” The Proud Boys have been identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Biden also said he hopes the Commission on Presidential Debates will limit interruptions to candidate answers in the remaining two debates. The commission Wednesday issued a statement saying it was considering format changes.

After Ohio, Biden’s whistle-stop tour rolls through Pennsylvania, with visits to Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Latrobe and Johnstown.

Annie Wu is the deputy editor of digital content for Ideastream Public Media.