By Sean Callahan
On Sept. 30, one day after a televised debate with President Donald Trump in Ohio, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden made several campaign stops in western Pennsylvania, beginning with downtown Pittsburgh. There, according to the Tribune Review, he met with a small group of invited officials, including two Democratic U.S. representatives and Tom Conway, the international president of the United Steelworkers union.
Biden said that he and Conway spoke about the loss of union jobs in the region. They agreed that Trump had made a “trail of broken promises and lies.”
Biden’s campaign officials said the “Build Back Better” train tour was meant to highlight Biden’s plans to rebuild the economy with a focus on working families. And he made the economy one of his main discussion topics while in Pittsburgh.
“Trump looks down on working families who are just trying to do the right thing and just trying to make it … who pay their taxes, who play by the rules,” Biden said.
Additionally, he made a pledge to protect the Affordable Care Act and claimed that Trump was not putting the American people fist. This statement concluded his Pittsburgh visit of a little less than an hour.
One of his next stops was the town of Latrobe, where Biden held meetings at DiSalvo’s Station Restaurant with Westmoreland County officials, including Mayor Rosie Wolford of Latrobe. According to news outlet The Hill, Biden also FaceTimed the wife of the late Fred Rogers, Joanne Rogers, after she claimed to be “a very big Biden fan,” while he was present in Latrobe.
Zachary D’Amico, an alumnus of Saint Vincent College and a staff writer with the Latrobe Bulletin, attended Biden’s whistle stop at Latrobe to report on the visit. According to D’Amico, Biden supporters enthusiastically gathered in the dozens along Ligonier and Thompson streets. Then, a group of Trump’s supporters arrived in opposition to Biden’s visit.
“The two groups were very vocal in support of their candidates, with Biden supporters at times chanting “Trump is a racist” or “We want Joe!” while Trump’s backers fired back, “Go home Joe,” D’Amico said.
Arika McCall, a sophomore marketing major, attended Biden’s whistle stop as well. She confirmed that there was verbal conflict between the two groups of supporters, but added that there was no physical violence and no need for police intervention. She was very pleased with the outcome of the gathering.
“The atmosphere of the Biden rally was very upbeat and peaceful. It was amazing to see people who were so passionate about their views on certain issues,” McCall said, “I truly believe it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Both McCall and D’Amico expressed the importance of attending visits of political candidates.
D’Amico noted in particular, “It’s not every day a presidential candidate makes a campaign stop in the town where your newspaper is based.”
Biden’s visit—four weeks after Trump’s own visit to Latrobe—emphasizes Pennsylvania’s status as a swing state in the upcoming presidential election. But it remains to be seen how or if this visit will impact the future of the nation, come Nov. 3.