- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 6, 2022

President Biden is facing Republican jabs for the paltry turnout at his Labor Day rally in battleground Pennsylvania.

A sparse group of union members and their families turned up for Mr. Biden’s campaign rally at the United Steelworkers of America Local Union 2227 in West Mifflin, a town southeast of Pittsburgh.

Monday’s visit was his third in the Keystone State in a week, marking a launch point as he begins campaigning for Democrats ahead of the November elections.

But soon after photos of the event billed as part of Mr. Biden’s celebration “of the dignity of American workers” surfaced, online Republicans began calling out the meager attendance.

The Republican National Committee tweeted a shot of Mr. Biden at the speaker’s podium in front of the union hall with just a few dozen gathered to hear him.

“MASSIVE crowd for Joe Biden in Pennsylvania today!” read the post, accompanied by two laughing emojis.

SEE ALSO: Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate skips Biden speech for other ‘events across the state’

The event was open to members of the union, their families, and state and local elected officials.

Another post compared the attendance at Mr. Biden’s event to that at a rally hosted by former President Donald Trump in the state just days before.

“Trump fills stadiums, Biden has to count his security detail as part of his ‘crowd,’” the post read.

Mr. Biden’s rally in Pennsylvania followed his speech at a Labor Day festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which was open to the public. The president was met with far more attendees at the Wisconsin rally.

Both states hold key races for Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections.

In Pennsylvania, Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman is facing a closely-watched race against Trump-backed Mehmet Oz to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.

In Wisconsin, Democratic Senate hopeful Mandela Barnes is facing off against Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.

Democratic candidates in Republican-leaning states have been apprehensive about campaigning alongside Mr. Biden, who has faced months of low approval ratings.

Mr. Barnes continued the trend of snubbing the president on Monday.

Mr. Fetterman, who has steered clear of the president on multiple visits, made an appearance at Mr. Biden’s Labor Day speech.

Mr. Biden has enjoyed firm standing among union leaders throughout his political career and has used the visits to showcase his pro-union bona fides ahead of the midterm elections.

In his remarks in both cities, Mr. Biden touted several recent legislative victories, including the bipartisan law to boost the domestic chip-manufacturing industry and the health care and tax components of Democrats’ massive Inflation Reduction Act.

He also used the platform to brand MAGA Republicans as anti-democratic extremists — a recurring theme in Mr. Biden’s campaign rhetoric.

“Not every Republican is a MAGA Republican. Not every Republican embraces that extreme ideology. I know because I’ve been able to work with mainstream Republicans my whole career,” Mr. Biden said. “But the extreme MAGA Republicans in Congress have chosen to go backwards full of anger, violence, hate and division. But together we can, and we must choose a different path: Forward.”

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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