'Outrageous': Ex-Obama Official Slams Biden for Joining Union Picket Line

President Biden at a UAW strike in Detroit (Reuters)
September 27, 2023

The former head of the Obama administration's auto industry task force called out President Joe Biden for his Tuesday visit to a United Auto Workers strike in Michigan.

"For him to be going on a picket line is outrageous," said Steven Rattner, who served as lead adviser to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry under former president Barack Obama to oversee the 2009 bailouts of auto makers, in an interview with NBC News. "There’s no precedent for it. The tradition of the president is to stay neutral in these things."

Biden visited the striking auto workers' picket line for around 12 minutes on Tuesday before jetting off to a fundraiser in California with billionaires who fund the movement to "abolish policing."

"I get the politics. The progressives all said, ‘We don’t want a mediator; we want an advocate,’" Rattner told NBC News. "And he bowed to the progressives, and now he’s going out there to put his thumb on the scale. And it’s wrong."

Union workers told the Washington Free Beacon they're concerned with Biden's visit given his support for electric vehicles. The strike was partly precipitated by autoworkers' worries that manufacturers shifting to electric vehicle production would lead to layoffs.

"I have a lot of mixed emotions about Biden being here today," Casey Rutner, who builds trucks for Ford, said. "I want my job to be here in the future, not for me—but I have a son. I had hoped he would work for Ford one day too. With electric vehicles, now I'm not so sure."

The union wants the major automakers—Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis—to increase pay and guarantee better benefits in the face of expanded EV manufacturing.

Published under: Joe Biden , Unions