Former Vice President Joe Biden mistakenly declared that a factory in Erie, Pennsylvania, was closing down — triggering panic among workers and forcing management to send a company-wide email reassuring employees that their jobs were not currently in danger.
Erie News Now reported Tuesday that Biden’s comments earlier in the week about a local locomotive factory shutting down caused the confusion:
“I heard today there’s a locomotive plant thinking of shutting down here. I’m going to invest literally in high speed rail. I have a record on that. I’m the (inaudible). We’re going to create tens of thousands of good paying jobs,” he said in an interview.
The locomotive plant in question was the local facility of the Wabtec Corporation, which makes freight trains.
However, Biden misspoke and corrected himself — off camera.
Erie News Now reported that people nevertheless watched the on-camera interview and became worried:
Following the on-camera interview, [reporter Ethan] Kibbe says the former Vice President corrected himself, saying he misspoke and heard of layoffs and not a plant closing.
However, confusion and concern had already been created because many people saw the full interview on our Erie News Now Facebook page.
So, to calm any worker concerns, plant leaders sent an email Tuesday to all employees at the Erie Wabtec plant saying:
“We want to set the record straight and let you know this statement is untrue. This site and plant are an integral part of the business and our community. As Wabtec’s design and development hub, the Erie site is leading cutting-edge innovations”
Wabtec did announce 300 layoffs earlier this year.
Biden led the Obama administration’s ill-fated efforts to invest in high-speed rail under the 2009 stimulus. None of the projects were built; the California project was canceled last year by Gov. Gavin Newsom because, he said, it would “cost too much and take too long.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
Correction: an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Erie is in Ohio.