PA Democrats rally in support of Joe Biden during first visit since debate

Joe Biden, PA Democrats

President Joe Biden posing for photos with supporters following an ice cream social at the AFSCME Council 13 union hall in Harrisburg, PA on July 7, 2024. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

July 8, 2024

PA Democrats rallied behind President Joe Biden as he traveled throughout the commonwealth on Sunday. Biden started his trip in Philadelphia and ended it with an ice cream social in Harrisburg.

Democratic voters from across south central Pennsylvania had the chance to beat the heat on Sunday by sharing ice cream with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at the AFSCME Council 13 union hall in Harrisburg.

Biden joined hundreds of local union members, advocates and party leaders for a Biden-Harris campaign event ,accompanied by Lt. Gov. Austin Davis, Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) and US Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA).

The president delivered a short speech that included some of his greatest hits on his labor friendly record and how the country’s billionaire class benefits from former president Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts. 

“I make no apologies that I’m the most pro-union president in American history,” Biden told the crowd. “Anyway, you’ve heard me say it before but I’ll say it again and again and again. The middle class built this country, not Wall Street. And guess what? Unions built the middle class.”

Biden offered a glimpse into what a second term in office would mean for the country by proposing a fairer tax system and proposed investing that money into childcare and eldercare. 

“One of the things we’re going to change in the second term is we’re going to have a fairer tax system,” Biden said. 

“You got out there, literally, a thousand billionaires in America. Up to a thousand billionaires. You know what the average tax rate is? 8.3% … The fact of the matter is Trump wants to give him another, and he’s said it, a $5 trillion tax cut over the next five years.”

It was Biden’s first trip to the Keystone State since his lackluster debate performance with Trump a little less than two weeks ago, and he has since brushed aside calls to step out of the presidential election. 

The President was flanked by Pennsylvania’s highest ranking Democrats throughout the day on Sunday in a show of support for Biden. Biden was greeted by Fetterman and US Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) in Philadelphia, and he then grabbed coffee with Gov. Josh Shapiro while stopping through Harrisburg.

“This election is about making sure we have a president who cares about each and every one of us, making sure that we have a president who believes in the promise of America and making sure that we have a president who will always stand up for our fundamental rights and our fundamental freedoms,” Lt. Gov. Davis said.

“I want my daughter to have the same rights that her mother came into the world with and have the same ability to live the American dream. I trust Joe Biden with my daughter’s future.”

Biden was originally slated to speak at the National Education Association’s (NEA) yearly conference at the Philadelphia Convention Center, but the visit was canceled after the NEA’s staff union went on strike. 

Those in attendance for the ice cream social remained overwhelmingly supportive of Biden following his debate performance and rebuffed calls for the president to step aside before the Democratic National Convention in August. 

Teresa Hoover, a high school Spanish teacher at Dauphin County Technical School, told The Keystone that she “absolutely” supports Biden staying in the race and emphasized the importance of protecting democracy going forward. 

“Just democracy in general,” Hoover said when asked why she’s voting this November.

“As a teacher, we teach kindness. We teach all the values of do unto others, and we just want to make sure that our country continues to go in the right direction in terms of how we treat people and care for our people and just continue to live our democratic goals.”



  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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