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Latest Biden, Harris pitch to Black voters slams Trump in crucial battleground

Candidates tout insulin prices and loan relief, but have to overcome apathy

The 76ers' Sixers Stixers drum line performs before a campaign rally for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at Girard College on Wednesday in Philadelphia.
The 76ers' Sixers Stixers drum line performs before a campaign rally for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at Girard College on Wednesday in Philadelphia. (Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)

Trailing Donald Trump in multiple national and battleground polls, President Joe Biden on Wednesday took his patchwork reelection bid back to Pennsylvania, trying to sew the crucial Black voter bloc back onto his campaign quilt by slamming Donald Trump.

“Folks, if anyone wonders whether their vote matters, remember this: Because Black Americans voted in 2020 … Donald Trump is the defeated former president. … And if you vote in 2024, we’re going to make Donald Trump a loser again,” Biden said after the audience greeted him with a chant of “four more years!”

Biden was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris a few hours after their reelection campaign announced in a statement a summer initiative to spend “eight figures” to “engage Black voters where they are,” through partnerships with “on-the-ground” organizations across the country and in battleground states. The campaign statement called Black voters “the backbone of the Biden-Harris coalition.”

“Today’s launch of the ‘Black Voters for Biden-Harris Coalition’ is yet another example of our campaign working diligently to earn every single vote,” Biden-Haris principal deputy campaign manager Quentin Fulks said in the statement. He also contended Trump, again the presumptive GOP nominee, “lacks the resources and competence to genuinely engage our community.”

Biden continued in the City of Brotherly Love to appeal to what polls show are some unenthusiastic Black voters, warning they should consider Trump’s “MAGA lies.”

“I don’t have an hour,” he quipped, saying it would take that long to list them all. He dinged Trump for his COVID-19 policies, his refusal to say “Black lives matter” and contended Trump would repeal the 2010 health care law, which would affect 3 million Black Americans. He also asked the audience to consider what Trump would have said and done if “Black Americans had stormed the Capitol” on Jan. 6, 2021, adding: “I doubt he would be talking about pardons.”

Meantime, outside the Manhattan courtroom where he has been on trial facing criminal charges, Trump took a jab at Biden, saying he was “destroying our county” and “letting millions of people from jails and prisons” and “mental institutions” into the U.S.

Trump, whose case was sent to the jury on Wednesday, held a campaign rally in the Bronx borough of New York City last week. There and at previous rallies he has maintained that Biden has done little to make Black Americans’ lives better. Biden and Harris, in a rare joint campaign appearance, sought to answer Trump’s claims in Philadelphia.

“In 2024, with your voice and your power, we will win again,” said Harris, the first Black and woman vice president. “Philadelphia, in Joe Biden … we have a leader who keeps his promises. As a candidate … Joe Biden gave his word that we would fight some of the biggest issues facing the Black community, and we have delivered.”

She pointed to the administration’s capping of insulin prices at $35 per month for Medicare recipients and giving Medicare the ability to negotiate some prescription drug prices. She also cited steps to help Americans manage medical, student loan and other types of personal debt. The crowd roared when she mentioned the student loan debt forgiveness program, and when she mentioned a gun safety measure Biden signed into law.

Black voters sided with Biden over Trump in 2020 87 percent to 12 percent, according to exit poll data compiled by the Roper Center. That was a drop compared with 2016, when Black voters supported Hillary Clinton over Trump by 89 percent to 8 percent. And since Biden took office, pollsters have described further deterioration of enthusiasm. A McLaughlin & Associates poll conducted May 21-23 showed Biden led Trump among Black voters nationally, 79 percent to 11 percent.

The Keystone State has been one of Biden’s most-visited states since taking office, a sign he and his campaign team understand its importance to winning a second term.

“I promised to put racial equality at the center of everything I do. … Because you voted, we’ve invested more than ever into Black communities. A promise made and a promise kept,” he said, adding his administration has steered federal funds to Black and Latino communities that were hurt in terms of jobs and housing when highways were built in those areas in the 1960s. “I promised to protect your health care; I’ve expanded the Affordable Care Act. … And, folks, the Affordable Care Act is still a big deal.” He also touted his push to keep those caught with marijuana out of prison.

‘Couch will probably win’

Biden has spent ample time this year in swing states, while Trump has been in recent weeks spending three or more days each week in a Manhattan courtroom.

“He understands what the American people are going through as they’re sitting around the kitchen table,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday. “And the president has always said he’s going to fight for communities that have been forgotten and you see that in the policies, economic policies that he’s put forward.”

Harris criticized Trump for, as president, trying to repeal the 2010 health insurance overhaul and for nominating three Supreme Court justices she contended Trump knew would, as they eventually did, end federal abortion access rights. “If he wins a second term, I promise you he’s going to go even further,” she said of Trump.

Trump has used his morning entrances and afternoon exits from the criminal hush money trial to gripe that he has been unable to hit the campaign trail — yet he opted against using a holiday break to do so. While Biden, so far, has been running a conventional campaign focused heavily on events in battleground states, the former president has called some audibles.

He has taken pizzas to first responders in New York City, held a rally in the Bronx borough that Biden easily won in 2020 and headlined the Libertarian Party’s national convention in Washington, D.C. Despite Trump’s legal issues, he has maintained leads in national and swing-state polls.

An Emerson College poll conducted May 21-23 of registered voters put Biden and Trump in a 50 percent-to-50 percent tie in a hypothetical one-on-one race. But when other candidates were added to the questioning, the same survey put Trump up 5 percentage points nationally, 44 percent to 39 percent.

In the Keystone State, a RealClearPolitics average of several polls showed Trump up 2.3 percentage points as of Wednesday. Biden narrowly defeated Trump there in 2020, 50 percent to 48.8 percent.

But Charlamagne Tha God, co-host of the syndicated radio program “The Breakfast Club,” said Wednesday Biden and Harris have an enthusiasm problem.

“Most of America doesn’t like our choices in this presidential race. I think that this election this year is about the Republicans, who are the crooks, the Democrats, who are the cowards because they don’t fight for nothing, and the couch, which is voter apathy,” the radio host, whose popular show is heard in over 90 U.S. markets, told Fox News. “And I think the couch will probably win. And whose fault is that? It’s not the people, it’s the candidates.”

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