published : 2023-09-28

Former Obama Aide Criticizes Biden for Joining Autoworkers Picket Line, Bowing to Progressives

Steve Rattner calls Biden's decision 'outrageous' but acknowledges it as good politics

Former Obama aide Steve Rattner discussing Biden's decision with reporter, taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Former Obama aide Steve Rattner has spoken out against President Biden's decision to join the picket line of autoworkers on strike in Michigan.

In an interview with NBC News, Rattner described the move as 'outrageous' and stated that there is no precedent for a president to take sides in such situations.

Rattner, who previously headed Obama's auto industry task force, argued that Biden's decision was a result of bowing to the progressives in his party who demanded an advocate rather than a mediator.

While Rattner acknowledged the political benefits of joining the picket line, he also expressed concern about the president putting his thumb on the scale, stating, 'It's wrong.'

President Biden addressing striking autoworkers in Michigan, taken with Nikon D850

During his visit to Michigan, Biden addressed the striking autoworkers and expressed solidarity with their demands for a significant raise.

Rattner, however, believes that there are merits on both sides of the argument and said in a post on social media platform 'X' that Biden should not be favoring one side so dramatically.

In an op-ed for The New York Times, Rattner further elaborated on his concerns, noting that a prolonged strike could adversely affect the economy and potentially impact Biden's re-election chances.

Rattner argued that the United Auto Workers (UAW) was overplaying its hand with an overly ambitious list of demands that the automakers might not be able to meet.

United Auto Workers picketing outside the Stellantis Jeep plant, taken with Sony Alpha a7 III

He expressed worries about the implications for the U.S. economy, particularly given the significance of the auto industry and states like Michigan for Biden's re-election bid.

The former Obama aide's criticism comes at a time when the UAW strike has already cost the U.S. economy $1.6 billion.

Biden, however, praised the autoworkers for their past sacrifices in saving the automobile industry and highlighted the improved conditions of the companies.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on Rattner's remarks.