President Joe Biden tried to signal a new political tone at a speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Friday urging Americans to come together and rebuild America’s infrastructure.
“It’s about time we stop fighting and it’s about time we start working together again,” Biden said as he concluded a speech promoting his bipartisan infrastructure bill.
The president has been sharply criticized for his angry speeches on voting rights, comparing Republican and even Democrat senators to historical racists and segregationists.
Biden tried to imitate an “America first” message focusing on economic growth and job opportunities in Pennsylvania.
“From day one, every action I’ve taken to rebuild the economy has been guided by one principle. Make it in America. Like we used to,” Biden said.
He praised Pittsburgh’s history of producing enormous amounts of steel, criticizing the 100,000 steel jobs lost between 1970 and 1990.
Biden did not mention his 1993 vote for NAFTA, which only further encouraged companies to outsource manufacturing jobs to Canada and Mexico. In 2000, Biden also voted to grant China permanent normal trading relations, paving the way for China to join the World Trade Organization.
The president did not call out Republicans specifically during his speech, after repeatedly complaining during a press conference last week about Republican senators and moderate Democrats blocking his massive $1.9 trillion social spending and climate change bill.
Biden argued a “Made in America” future needed dramatic spending on research and development to help companies manufacture more complex products and technological advancements.
But Biden did get angry about the rising cost of insulin, blaming pharmaceutical companies for exploiting people who needed it.
“It strips you of your dignity, dammit!” he yelled, referring to parents who were struggling to pay for insulin.
“Imagine!” he said. “It’s outrageous. And we have an answer!” he said.