Senator John Fetterman (D-Penn.) took a page from President Joe Biden’s playbook to prove that he’s truly a blue-collar man of the people, and on Thursday joined United Auto Workers (UAW) on the picket line outside a General Motors facility in Langhorne, outside of Philadelphia.
He was spotted wearing one of his signature hooded sweatshirts while telling the workers that he supported them “1,000 percent.”
Local media reported that the junior senator from the Keystone State drove five hours to meet with the UAW outside the GM Parts Distribution Center. He was quick to point out that he made the drive in his American-made Jeep to show support for the striking workers who have been on the picket line since September 22.
“The union way of life is sacred. I have never met a greedy union member. Ever. But we’ve met plenty of greedy CEOs,” he told reporters, and added that collectively the three leaders of General Motors, Ford and Stellantis receive $74 million in compensation.
“How much is enough,” he continued.
A Photo-Op in Battleground PA!
Fetterman’s decision to join the picket line came just two weeks after President Joe Biden took part in a similar photo-op in Michigan, where the commander-in-chief donned a union ballcap and then grabbed a bullhorn to proclaim that he was standing with the workers.
Both Michigan and Pennsylvania are seen as potential swing states that could determine the outcome of the 2024 election. Former President Donald Trump won both states, along with Wisconsin, in 2016 – a fact that dismayed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose campaign had largely expected to win the “Blue Wall” states with ease.
Four years later, Biden proved successful at rebuilding that Blue Wall – yet, his push for electric vehicles (EV) has rattled workers within the U.S. automotive industry’s “Big Three” over worries such a move will cost American jobs. EVs require fewer parts, while the batteries are often imported.
Biden needs the support of the UAW in the Blue Wall states if he is to defeat Trump in a rematch next year, and thus stood by the workers in Michigan in a photo-op on the picket line – while downplaying EVs.
“The fact of the matter is that you guys, the UAW, you saved the automobile industry back in 2008 … you made a lot of sacrifices. You gave up a lot. And the companies were in trouble. Now they’re doing incredibly well and guess what? You should be doing incredibly well,” Biden told the union workers.
Fetterman – Defender of the Pandas or Farmland?
Thursday’s time on the picket line was likely to shore up votes for the Democrats in the Keystone State next year but was also Fetterman’s latest attempt to cast himself as a blue-collar guy, despite the fact that he received a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard and has largely been a career politician.
It was also this week that Fetterman has been in the spotlight for entirely different reasons – namely one involving China’s giant pandas.
It was announced that the exchange program won’t likely continue after the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. returns its three pandas later this year. Mei Xiang, Tian Tian, and their cub Xiao Qi Ji are set to return to China in early December with no public signs that the 50-year-old exchange agreement struck by former President Richard Nixon will continue. The Chinese government currently leases out pandas for a typical 10-year term, with the annual fees ranging from $1 million to $2 million per panda.
Moreover, any cub born to the pandas also belongs to the Chinese government.
Fetterman spoke publicly about it while complaining about how Beijing has been buying up American farmland.
“I mean, they’re taking back our pandas. You know, we should take back all their farmland,” Fetterman exclaimed.
Whether the U.S. will take back the farmland purchased by China is unclear, it does seem that as tensions have increased between Beijing and Washington, it would appear the leasing of pandas may be discontinued. Perhaps Fetterman would be well-suited to serve in the role of Panda Czar, and could negotiate a deal so that the family of panda’s can continue their stay in the Washington zoo.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu