CNN Guest Says Biden’s Visit To UAW Strike Is ‘Sign Of Desperation’ Because He’s Showing Up ‘Empty-Handed’

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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Bloomberg’s senior Washington correspondent Saleha Mohsin said Tuesday on CNN that it is a “sign of desperation” for President Joe Biden to go to the United Auto Workers (UAW) picket line as he shows up “empty-handed.”

Biden is headed to the picket line in Detroit, Michigan on Tuesday to join the striking UAW just one day before former President Donald Trump is set to visit the city.

White House Press Sec. Karine Jean-Pierre called Biden’s visit “historic” and said Biden has always been “on the side of workers” getting their “fair share.”

CNN’s Phil Mattingly said it would be difficult for Biden as he heads to the picket lines because he is a president and is supposed to try and stay in the background during negotiations.

“You’ve covered this team’s economic policy and efforts closer than anybody. How do they operate in this space given the politics?” Mattingly asked Mohsin.

“To me, it’s a sign of desperation. If the president is making this huge move to show up and outshine the last president, who was a candidate, who is a big opponent, it is showing how hard he is fighting, because what Donald Trump is doing is trying to recreate that 2016-like attraction, that pull to blue-collar workers that got him to the White House,” Mohsin said.


“And Biden grabbed those votes in 2020 and they’re uncertain now about him. That constituency is not shared because he’s backed electric vehicle production. Trump is talking about how that’s going to wipe out your jobs because they need less union workers to produce those kinds of cars. They’re shipping those jobs to China. That’s exactly how he won in 2016. He’s recreating that. So Biden is rushing in to do the counter-narrative, but he’s showing up a little bit empty-handed when it comes to policy fixes on making sure union jobs are protected.”

“What power. you made this good point that the president needs to tell these workers he won’t allow the EV transition, that this administration backs so fervently to chip away at good-paying jobs. But he doesn’t really actually have any power to make those promises, does he?” co-host Poppy Harlow asked. (RELATED: ‘Replace Him’: Striking Auto Workers Reject Biden’s Backing)

“He has signaling power to show up and to make it clear to the big automakers that I’m the president and I support this. Unless he’s willing to go back on those promises on EV production, which he’s not, that’s going to upset a lot of people in the climate change sector, he can’t really do anything here,” Mohsin said.

Workers are striking after their contract expired on Sept. 14. The union initially demanded a 46% pay raise over five years and a shortened four day work week while still being paid for a 40-hour work week. UAW leadership has also raised concerns about how long-term increases in electric vehicle production would hurt their workers. Biden and Democrats have thrown their support behind policies that subsidize electric vehicle production and restrict internal combustion engine vehicles. The so-called Inflation Reduction Act and bipartisan infrastructure law also allocated billions to subsidize electric vehicles.