President Biden outlined an economic agenda on Thursday that he believes helped all voters, regardless of whether they voted for him, and name-checked Republican lawmakers who have attacked his policies but whose constituents have benefited from billions in federal funding.
In a speech at a factory in South Carolina, Mr. Biden pointed out that many Republican lawmakers voted for his policies, including the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the CHIPS Act to boost semiconductor production, because they were best for those lawmakers.
“I didn’t get a lot of help from the other team, but that didn’t stop us from doing it,” Mr. Biden said, drawing applause from a crowd at the facility, in a state that has revived his 2020 presidential campaign.
He thanked Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who voted for both pieces of legislation. Mr. Biden said his policies have brought about 14,000 jobs to the state and that “jobs that used to go to Mexico, India, Romania and China are now coming home to South Carolina.” A fact sheet distributed by the White House said $2.6 billion in infrastructure funding and $11 billion in clean energy investments have been pumped into the state.
Mr. Biden said the distribution of so much money to Republican states like South Carolina didn’t matter to him: “My view is, wherever the need is the most, that’s the place we should be helping, and that’s what we’re doing. ,” he said.
South Carolina is a crucial state for Mr. Biden, who was all but counted out of the 2020 Democratic primary until his deep political connections and popularity with Black voters established him as the leading contender after his victory in the state. He has since proposed that South Carolina be the first primary state in 2024, arguing that “voters of color have a voice in choosing our candidate much earlier in the process.” And he maintained a close relationship with James E. Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, whose endorsement of Mr. Biden helped revive his weak 2020 campaign.
Mr. Biden’s visit came just days after former President Donald J. Trump visited Pickens, a small town about 100 miles west of West Columbia. At a rally that drew thousands, Mr Graham, who introduced Mr Trump, was booed as a traitor for opposing the January 6, 2021 attacks on the US Capitol.
At the rally, Mr Trump continued his own campaign theme of avenging grievances, describing the 2024 presidential race as “our final battle” and lashing out at Democrats and liberals.
As president, Mr. Trump abandoned any distinction between his campaign rallies and White House events ostensibly geared toward his policies. On Thursday, Mr. Biden drew a contrast in content and style, keeping mostly policy, taking only a small jab at Mr. Trump.
“Under my predecessor, Infrastructure Week became a punchline,” Mr. Biden said correctly. “Every, every, every month. Anyway, I won’t get into it. By my watch, we’re making infrastructure a decade headline.”
Mr. Biden, whose advisers have hosted a summer of economic events across the country, did not limit his remarks to South Carolina. At one point, he named other Republicans, including Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican whose district is home to a solar plant in Dalton: “I’ll be there for the groundbreaking,” the president said of the planned one. expansion at the plant.
The trip to South Carolina comes as Mr. Biden and his advisers searched for a message that could break through. a cloud of pervasive pessimism about the direction of the American economy. Although the administration still faces tough inflation that has driven up costs, Mr. Biden and his aides have emphasized that “Bidenomics” — their catchphrase for millions of new jobs created since he took office — is working.
On Thursday, Mr. Clyburn – who has repeatedly defended the president against concerns that he has not done enough for Black voters who will be key to his re-election effort – praised the economic policies of the Biden administration.
He said some Republicans who criticize Mr. Biden are promoting the investments in their own communities.
“I can understand why they want to take credit,” Mr. Clyburn said. “Bidenomics is good for their constituents.”