Biden takes his first swipe at Trump ahead of Manhattan criminal trial: The president jokes about his rival being ‘busy’ in court and attacks him for Pennsylvania losing 270,000 jobs while he was president

President Joe Biden is joking about Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York as he campaigned for re-election in Pennsylvania, drawing a blow against his Republican rival.

“Under my predecessor, who is now busy, Pennsylvania lost 275,000 jobs,” Biden told American steelworkers, who chuckled.

This week, Biden is in the middle of a three-day campaign in Pennsylvania, which began Tuesday in Scranton and includes a visit to Philadelphia on Thursday. Trump is in a New York courtroom defending himself against felony charges in a hush-money case linked to porn star Stormy Daniels.

President Joe Biden joked about the trial of Donald Trump while campaigning in Pennsylvania

It was the first reference Biden made to the trial against Trump. Trump is the first former president to ever face criminal charges.

Pennsylvania is a critical battleground state. Every man needs it in his column if he wants to return to the White House next year.

The 77-year-old Trump won the state against the Democrats in the 2016 elections, which put him in the White House. But Biden took it back in the 2020 contest, though he won by just one point.

While Biden is in his three-day swing, Trump has been hosting campaign rallies on weekends.

On Wednesday in Pittsburgh, Biden made his pitch to steelworkers, part of the worker voting bloc he is asking for their votes.

The president called for a tripling of steel tariffs from China to protect American producers from cheap imports. The announcement came as unions are angry over the planned purchase of US Steel by a Japanese company.

Biden criticized China in his remarks.

‘Would you like to trade places with China? Would you trade places with their problems? They have a population consisting of more retirees than workers. They don’t import anything. They are xenophobic; no one else comes in. They have real problems,” he said.

Both Biden and Trump have talked about how they will counter China as they reach out to voters for a second term, especially when speaking to the workers who could decide November’s election.

Biden is pushing for an economic plan to combat inflation, which has driven up the cost of food, goods and gas across the country. Voters have given him low marks for his handling of the economy.

Trump, meanwhile, is reminding voters that the economy was stronger under his term.

“If a country is just ripping us off, like China, then I thought the tariffs, and the tariffs, forced companies to come back to the United States,” Trump told CNBC in March.

Donald Trump will be in a Manhattan courtroom in the coming months

Donald Trump will be in a Manhattan courtroom in the coming months

Protesters greeted President Biden at his event in Pittsburgh

Protesters greeted President Biden at his event in Pittsburgh

Biden also reiterated his opposition to the proposed sale of US Steel to Japan’s Nippon Steel in his remarks.

“US Steel has been an iconic American company for more than a century. It must remain an American company. American owned, American operated by American union steelworkers – the best in the world,” he said.

His administration could halt sales over national security concerns, but it is unclear whether the president will take such a step.

At a rally last weekend in Pennsylvania, Trump attacked Biden over the proposed sale, ignoring Biden’s objections to the merger.

“I wouldn’t let that deal go through,” Trump said.

The president was greeted by protesters at his event, with one group chanting “Bidenomincs must go” and another group “Crank-fire now!” called out.

After his speech, Biden stopped at a Sheetz to buy sandwiches for construction workers.

He then stopped at Pittsburgh International Airport, where a new terminal is being built. It will be paid for in part by Biden’s infrastructure bill.

Biden’s campaign swing comes as Trump spends much of the next two months in a Manhattan courtroom.

The sitting president’s team is trying to contrast the image of Biden campaigning and continuing as president while Trump fights legal charges.

Biden stopped at Sheetz in Pittsburgh to buy sandwiches

Biden stopped at Sheetz in Pittsburgh to buy sandwiches

Biden delivered the sandwiches to construction workers in Pittsburgh

Biden delivered the sandwiches to construction workers in Pittsburgh

Biden’s re-election campaign said they were not concerned about the process.

“Wherever Donald Trump is, whether it’s at Mar-a-Lago, in a courtroom or anywhere else, he will be focused on himself, his toxic agenda, his campaign of vengeance and retaliation,” said Michael Tyler, the Biden campaign communications director. “That will be a continuation of the contrast that the American people have seen since the beginning of this campaign.”