As he looks past the GOP primary and toward a likely general election rematch against President Joe Biden, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump just made a clever move to win critical swing states in November.
Trump called a meeting in Washington on Wednesday with members of a critical, but vulnerable, part of Biden’s support: the Teamsters Union.
Trump is looking to peel away a key Democratic constituency ahead of a likely 2024 rematch with Biden.
The private roundtable comes as a part of Trump’s effort to make further inroads with blue-collar voters who were critical in his 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton. Union households have historically aligned with Democrats, with 56 percent backing Mr. Biden in 2020 per The Associated Press.
However, Trump sees an opening to flip rank-and-file members by portraying Republicans as pro-worker and anti-Woke — a move that could win critical swing states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan where organized labor holds sway.
Mr. Biden has aggressively pursued union leadership’s endorsements, but his administration has struggled to connect with working-class voters. Sensing an opportunity, Trump held a well-publicized meeting in January with Teamsters President Sean O’Brien, who later said it was constructive despite some misgivings about the former president’s labor record.
While Teamsters leadership formerly endorsed Biden, O’Brien acknowledged a diversity of views among the membership. Experts estimate 30-40 percent of union voters backed Trump in 2020.
The Teamsters meeting follows Trump’s September speech in Michigan to the United Auto Workers union, where he railed against Biden’s electric vehicle policies and directly implored United Auto Workers leaders to spurn the incumbent and endorse his campaign.
The UAW declined, but Trump appears undaunted in his efforts to expand his blue-collar coalition.
With the GOP nomination nearly secured, Trump’s courtship of labor unions could pay dividends in battleground states this November. Rival Nikki Haley has not matched his outreach to Teamsters brass, underscoring the former president’s early maneuvering for votes.