It’s no accident the picket line Joe Biden is visiting is in Michigan – the state is crucial for him to win if he’s to return to the White House for a second term. The Guardian’s Steven Greenhouse reports on how the president is hoping today’s visit gives him a boost among a constituency vital not just to his own presidency, but to Democrats’ successes nationwide:
In the more than 150 years since workers first formed labor unions in the United States, no American president has ever stood “in solidarity” with workers on a picket line. Joe Biden has vowed to do exactly that with striking autoworkers in Michigan on Tuesday.
“This is genuinely new – I don’t think it’s ever happened before, a president on a picket line,” said Nelson Lichtenstein, a longtime labor historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “Candidates do it frequently and prominent senators, but not a president.”
Biden’s visit to the picket line, labor experts say, will give him a political boost in Michigan and other industrial swing states and might also help nudge the United Auto Workers (UAW) and automakers to a quicker settlement. But some experts say his visit could backfire if the walkout drags on for months or seriously hurts the nation’s economy.
Biden’s predecessors were often far more hostile toward strikers. In 1894, Grover Cleveland dispatched federal troops to help shut down a railroad strike; during the Korean war in 1952, Harry Truman seized the nation’s steel mills in response to a steelworkers’ strike; and in 1981, Ronald Reagan fired 11,345 striking air traffic controllers.
At 12pm today, Joe Biden will go where no president has gone before: a union picket line. The Guardian’s Robert Tait reports on why Biden’s visit to striking autoworkers in Michigan is significant:
Joe Biden will make a rare presidential appearance on a picket line in Michigan on Tuesday to show solidarity with striking members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union locked in an escalating dispute with America’s three biggest carmakers.
In a high-stakes effort to steal a march on Donald Trump, Biden will offer his backing to strikers at a plant in the Detroit area as part of an all-out bid to retain the support of union members in Michigan, seen as a key presidential election battleground state.
The US president’s visit comes a day before Trump, his expected Republican opponent in next year’s poll, visits Detroit – the historic centre of the US car industry – to address workers in his own pitch for the strikers’ support.
Trump, who won Michigan with the help of union members’ support in his 2016 election victory over Hillary Clinton before losing it four years later in his defeat to Biden, is not expected to visit a picket line.
Biden’s trip is designed to burnish his self-proclaimed credentials as the most union-friendly president in US history and possibly also to earn the explicit backing of the UAW, which has yet to endorse his bid for re-election.
In a post on X, the social media platform that was formerly Twitter, the president said the aim of his visit was “to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create”.
He added: “It’s time for a win-win agreement that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with well-paid UAW jobs.”
In the latest development in Hunter Biden’s legal counterattack against conservatives who have demonized him, the president’s son today sued Rudy Giuliani and his attorney, alleging they broke the law by accessing his electronic devices, CNN reports.
Giuliani and Robert Costello spent years “hacking into, tampering with, manipulating, copying, disseminating, and generally obsessing over data that they were given that was taken or stolen from” his devices, alleges the lawsuit, which was filed in a California federal court and claims the pair caused “total annihilation” of his digital privacy.
Hunter Biden has been at the center of Republicans’ impeachment effort against Joe Biden, over unproven claims that the president benefited from allegedly corrupt business activities his son took part in overseas.
It’s the third lawsuit by the president’s son against rightwing figures he claims have invaded his privacy in their quest to prove corruption. Last week, he sued the Internal Revenue Service, claiming the tax authority violated his privacy rights when two agents, saying they were whistleblowers, went public with allegations of political interference in an investigation of his conduct. He is also suing a former Donald Trump White House aide over claims of illegal hacking.
CNN spoke to a source on Biden’s legal team, who signaled that more lawsuits would be coming. “Everyone involved in stealing and manipulating Hunter’s data should be hearing footsteps right about now,” the source said.
Good morning, US politics blog readers. The House and Senate are both back in session today and will make a last-ditch effort to stop the government shutdown expected on 1 October. According to media reports, the Senate’s Democratic leadership plans at 5.30pm eastern time today to hold a vote on a measure that will keep the government open for 45 days and include little of funding for disaster relief or Ukraine’s war effort that party leaders want. Assuming the so-called “clean” continuing resolution passes the chamber, it will go the House, where such a bill would normally attract bipartisan support.
But with extreme rightwing lawmakers threatening to force a vote on ousting Republican speaker Kevin McCarthy if he shows any sign of working with the opposition, and there’s no saying yet if he’ll put the Senate’s legislation to a vote. McCarthy plans to at 6.30pm today hold a procedural vote on his own spending bill – the same kind of vote that failed last week due to the ongoing revolt by the far right. The prospects of the speaker’s effort therefore remain unclear, but one thing is for sure: if Congress doesn’t make any progress resolving this today, the shutdown odds increase.
Here’s what else is going on today:
Joe Biden is heading to Michigan for a visit to a United Auto Workers picket line in what is expected to be a historic show of solidarity for an American president. He’ll be there at 12pm.
Now that they’re back at the Capitol, expect every senator to be asked if they think Robert Menendez, New Jersey’s Democratic senator who was last week indicted for using his position to do favors for the government of Egypt, should resign.
Hunter Biden filed another lawsuit against his conservative antagonists, this time alleging Rudy Giuliani and his ex-attorney tried to hack his devices, CNN reports.