DETROIT (CN) — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden made a campaign stop in Michigan on Wednesday, speaking about preventing jobs from going overseas in a county President Donald Trump won by a razor-slim margin four years ago.
The visit to Macomb County, which was not open to the public but was streamed on Biden’s website, came on the same day bombshell recordings of Trump admitting to downplaying the coronavirus threat were released by legendary investigative reporter Bob Woodward.
Leading up to the appearance, United Auto Workers Local 598 President Ryan Buchalski posted a Facebook video touting the success of legislation passed in 2009 when Biden was in the White House with President Barack Obama that helped General Motors and Chrysler avoid a financial collapse that would have had a ripple effect on suppliers.
“Joe Biden had our backs, specifically during that time frame,” he said. “If the election had gone the other way in 2008…I believe we would not be having this conversation right now.”
Democratic Congressman Andy Levin, whose district includes the city of Warren, also applauded the former vice president’s trip to speak with union workers in Detroit’s largest suburb.
“His decision to make Macomb County one of the first stops as he resumes in-person campaigning, to hear directly from UAW workers, shows that Biden understands the importance of this crucial county and the needs of our voters,” Levin said in a statement.
Masked UAW officials echoed those sentiments as they introduced Biden, with the podium being sanitized several times between speakers. Biden took his mask off to speak, promising to put it on afterwards.
The former vice president was initially jovial as he greeted the attendees, touting the success of General Motors and beaming with pride about his 1967 Chevy Corvette while saying he looks forward to a new electric version.
But he quickly shifted to address the news about President Trump revealed by Woodward’s forthcoming book “Rage.”
“He knew how deadly it was. Worse, he lied to the American people. He failed to do his job on purpose,” the Democratic nominee said of the president’s handling of the pandemic.
Biden said it was Trump’s incompetence that led the country into the current economic downturn.
“This is a recession created by his negligence,” he said. “Beyond despicable.”
He went on to assail what he called the president’s ongoing struggle with telling the truth.
“What’s the value of a promise…if it’s not met with action?” Biden said. “We expect the president to be straight with us.”
Before the event, the Biden campaign criticized Trump’s handling of the economy before and after the Covid-19 pandemic infected the nation.
If elected, Biden said he wants to pass legislation that would increase the top corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% but give a 10% tax credit to companies making investments that would create or relocate jobs inside the U.S.
“President Trump chooses multinational corporate interests over American workers again and again,” the campaign said in a press release. “He promised a major infrastructure plan and policies to end outsourcing and bring jobs back to the United States. Instead, he created a tax loophole that actually rewards companies for shipping jobs and profits overseas.”
Biden also promised to end tax loopholes for corporations, including a rule that allows U.S. companies to pay zero taxes on the first 10% of their profits when they locate manufacturing and service jobs to foreign lands.
“These Trump offshoring loopholes mean if you manufacture products in Michigan or Wisconsin or Ohio you must pay full taxes, but if a competitor moves jobs and production overseas and shifts those profits to tax havens, they can avoid some or all US taxes and have a competitive advantage over those making it in America and hiring in America,” the plan states.
Speaking in Warren, Biden said he doesn’t buy the idea that “the vitality of American manufacturing is a thing of the past.”
“Make it in Michigan, make it in America, invest in our communities and the workers in places like Warren,” he said of his jobs plan.
Biden ended his trip with a story about a General Motors worker he spoke to who told him getting a job with the automaker was like winning the lottery.
“Getting a good job in 2020 shouldn’t be a lottery…it should be an expectation,” he said to applause.
When Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in Michigan in 2016 by less than 10,000 votes, it was the closest election in state history. Biden currently leads the Republican incumbent 47% to 42%, according to a poll of 600 likely state voters over the first three days of September and after the end of the Republican and Democratic national conventions.
Trump is scheduled to visit Michigan on Thursday for a rally at an airport hangar in Freeland, located near Saginaw. Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer has already expressed worry that the large gathering could further the spread of Covid-19 when she appeared on CNN Tuesday night.
“Events like this threaten all that sacrifice that we’ve made. I would love to see the leader of our country embrace masks and encourage people to do the right thing,” she told Anderson Cooper.