President Joe Biden was excoriated for his unprecedented trip to the United Auto Workers picket line Tuesday, The Hill reported. Former Obama administration auto industry task force leader Steven Rattner called it "outrageous" in an interview Wednesday.
"For him to be going on a picket line is outrageous. There’s no precedent for it," Rattner, who also worked in private equity after a stint as a journalist, told NBC News.
"The tradition of the president is to stay neutral in these things," Rattner added. Biden traveled to Michigan to show solidarity with the striking workers, knowing that this move had never been done by other presidents.
Rattner had been involved in the auto bailout in 2009 and sympathized with the Biden campaign's use of the situation to garner support from unions and the important state of Michigan. "I get the politics," Rattner said.
"The progressives all said, ‘We don’t want a mediator; we want an advocate,'" he added. "And he bowed to the progressives, and now he’s going out there to put his thumb on the scale," Rattner said.
"And it’s wrong," he said. However, things are more desperate for Biden than even Rattner let on.
The president has yet to receive an endorsement from the UAW, which is usually a given for Democratic presidents. Once he agreed to make his way to the picket line, UAW President Shawn Fain met Biden on the tarmac and accompanied him to the strike.
Of course, Biden's policies make it clear that the solidarity was just for show. Although the president wanted to ingratiate himself with the union workers as a powerful voting bloc, it's undeniable that he is responsible for the reasons the workers were striking in the first place.
Biden's emphasis on green energy and electric vehicles is a massive threat to the auto industry and the jobs it creates. In April, Biden proposed the toughest emissions standards yet that will necessitate most new vehicles manufactured will be electric, Fox News reported.
Using the Environmental Protection Agency, cars made between 2027 and 2032 will be subject to the new regulation. The White House claimed it would "protect public health" by reducing carbon emissions.
"As a car enthusiast and self-proclaimed car guy, President Biden is seizing the moment," the White House said in a fact sheet released at the time the standards were proposed. "His Investing in America agenda is expanding domestic manufacturing and accelerating adoption of zero-emission vehicles, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and fuel cell electric vehicles."
Unfortunately, the change to such vehicles would revolutionize the way companies manufacture automobiles. It also doesn't reflect the desires of the consumers who by and large are still choosing the internal combustion engine.
"The Biden administration is trying to bend every federal rule they can find to force people into buying EVs," Myron Ebell, Competitive Enterprise Institute's Center for Energy and Environment director, said. "There is still a market that allows drivers to buy the vehicles of their choice, but government coercion is rapidly limiting those choices."
Biden has created a crisis in the auto industry as well as in the economy. Now that his reelection is coming up, he's doing all he can do to make people forget those facts, even if it means breaking all of the presidential norms around striking workers.