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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden got away with several unchallenged remarks in his ABC News town hall but a former Pennsylvania lawmaker called him out on one glaring misstatement.
Biden’s unfounded claim came during a response to a question from ABC News moderator George Stephanopolous about his stand on climate change and energy policies. But in his remarks defending himself against criticism from a member of a trade union representing boilermakers, the former vice president claimed he had the group’s endorsement.
Stephanopolous brought up the energy issues and told Biden “not everyone buys your denial” on his claims that he will not ban fracking. The Democratic nominee has reiterated that he is against a ban on the practice of hydraulic fracturing, an issue important in states like Pennsylvania where Thursday’s 90-minute town hall took place.
But when asked again about his apparent flip-flopping on the issue, Biden momentarily focused his rebuttal on the Boilermakers trade union, declaring that the group “overwhelmingly endorsed” him.
George Stephanopolous asks @JoeBiden if he supports the #GreenNewDeal, which his climate plan calls a “crucial framework”; Biden gets confused and says his plan doesn’t reference the Green New Deal pic.twitter.com/zKqRxLoxg0
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 16, 2020
“The boilermakers union’s endorsed me because I sat down with them and went into great detail with their leadership exactly what I would do,” Biden said before going on to talk about his other energy proposals and denying that his climate plans refer to the Green New Deal as a “crucial framework.”
But the Democrat was not exactly correct on the union endorsement, as a former GOP representative for Pennsylvania’s 11th congressional district pointed out on Twitter.
“Someone should tell @JoeBiden that here in PA the Boilermakers he claims are overwhelmingly supporting him endorsed President @realDonaldTrump last month,” Lou Barletta, who was also the former mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania tweeted.
— Lou Barletta (@LouBarletta_PA) October 16, 2020
The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers describes itself as an organization that “represents more than 50,000 skilled craftsmen and women and industrial workers who work in heavy industry, shipbuilding, manufacturing, railroads, cement, mining, and related industries.”
Pennsylvania’s Boilermakers Local 154, which represents more than 2,500 active and retired members in the state, actually endorsed President Donald Trump back in September.
“As the United States continues to lead the world in oil and natural gas production it is imperative that we continue to battle over-regulations in the fossil fuel industries and fight for American energy production,” John J. Hughes, the business manager for the Boilermakers Local 154 in Pittsburgh, wrote in a letter to the president last month.
“My members and their families are dependent on these industries and it is imperative that we continue to develop new opportunities and energy infrastructure in America. Boilermaker jobs specifically rely on coal-fired power generation and we strongly encourage the advancement of Carbon Capture technologies which can secure future jobs for our members,” Hughes wrote.
“It is with great honor that I write this letter to endorse your campaign as you run for re-election of the President of the United States. I am happy to support your administration as you have proven to be a true friend of the Boilermakers, and I wish you the best of luck in your campaign,” the letter concluded.
Shawn Steffee, an executive board member of the local group, has made it clear Trump will be getting his vote in November.
Steffee was quoted by Stephanopolous during the town hall in the question that triggered Biden’s claim.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want nothing to do with the fossil fuel industry. He’s flip-flopped so many times, and President Trump has embraced fossil fuels, natural gas and coal,” Steffee told The New York Times.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been totally unclear” on fracking, the Democrat who voted for Trump in 2016, said.
“You can’t have it both ways,” Steffee added. “My members and my local, we’re done riding the fence. We made a stand.”
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