Biden touts jobs, support for military families during visits to Rocky Mount and Fort Liberty

Friday, June 9, 2023
Biden touts jobs, military families in visit to NC
Approximately 600 military service members and veterans, military families and caregivers, survivors, community leaders, activists, and local elected officials were in attendance.

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WTVD) -- President Joe Biden and the first lady made their way to North Carolina on Friday.

They landed at Seymour Johnson Air Base just before noon and made two stops during their trip.

The day began with a tour of Nash County Community College early Friday afternoon.

President Joe Biden and first lady arrive in NC, head to Rocky Mount

Biden's motorcade arrived at Nash Community College at 12:38 p.m. On his route, thin lines of onlookers took video of the motorcade. At least a half dozen bystanders displayed Trump 2024 flags. A Ukrainian flag flew from a Jeep. Other people waved.

Biden had little to say when asked whether he was concerned about division in the country in light of the indictment of former President Donald Trump, his chief political rival.

"I have no comment at all," he said after the tour of Nash County Community College. Asked later whether he had spoken to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Biden replied: "I have not spoken to him at all and I'm not going to speak with him. And I have no comment on that."

This is the latest part of Biden's Investing in America Tour. He was joined by Gov. Roy Cooper on the tour.

Biden called Cooper a "terrific partner in creating economic opportunity for the people of North Carolina."

He visited the college's Advanced Manufacturing Institute which holds a new 96-hour course designed to help students pursue a career in manufacturing without a four-year degree.

The president then began his speech around 1:30 p.m.

WATCH: Biden's full speech in Rocky Mount

FULL SPEECH: President Biden delivers remarks in Rocky Mount

"One of the things that we're talking about here is what do we do to make us once again the most competitive nation in the world," Biden said. "We believe in y'all," he told those in attendance.

Biden spoke for about 17 minutes after being introduced by a student named America Alonso Gomez.

Biden touched on familiar themes about the value of community college, which he called "the best kept secret in America." his job-creation record and how for too long the middle and working class were "hollowed out" with "factories closing down all over America."

Manufacturing is "coming back," he said, prompting applause.

Applause rang out when the president went into a loud stage whisper to demand that the very rich "pay their fair share" of taxes.

WATCH: Rocky Mount city leaders react to presidential visit

The day will kick off off with a tour of Nash County Community College this afternoon.

"You know, the -- we're in a position where things ahead of you are thanks to the training you're going to get and investments we made," Biden added. "Going to be good-paying jobs all across -- not just here in the East, but all across North Carolina, the entire state."

After his stop in Rocky Mount, the Bidens headed for Fort Liberty to meet with troops and their families. They arrived about 3:10 p.m.

The president along with the first lady took the stage at 3:50 pm. DR. Jill Biden spoke first, talking about her "Joining Forces" initiative. The measure is aimed at supporting military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors. The president also signed an Executive Order on Advancing Economic Security for Military and Veteran Spouses, Caregivers, and Survivors.

WATCH: Biden's full speech at Fort Liberty

FULL SPEECH: President Biden speaks at Fort Liberty to bolster support for military families.

A few minutes later, President Biden took to the podium.

"Jill and I never forget that military spouses, caregivers, and survivors serve and sacrifice as well," Biden said. "We never forget that you've also answered the nation's call."

Approximately 600 military service members and veterans, military families and caregivers, survivors, community leaders, activists, and local elected officials were in attendance.

"As a nation, we have many obligations, but we have only one truly sacred obligation. And I used to get criticized years ago, as a young senator, when I'd say this, but not anymore: We -- the most sacred obligation America has is to prepare those we send into harm's way and care for them and their families when they come home or deploy," Biden said. "Today, we're taking an important step to fill -- towards fulfilling that obligation. This new executive order establishes the most comprehensive set of administrative actions in our nation's history to support the economic security of military families, veterans' spouses, caregivers, and survivors."

A small desk was also present on stage, where Biden signed the order on measures to provide professional support to military families.

"I'm here as Commander-in-Chief to sign this executive order because it matters. It matters to our military recruitment and retention. It matters to our troops' readiness and resilience. And it matters to our nation's safety and security," Biden added.

As for the political angle, North Carolina is a vital state for both parties.

"Families in North Carolina and across the country are struggling to keep up with skyrocketing inflation and falling real wages caused by Biden's radical tax-and-spend agenda," Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in response to Biden's North Carolina visit. "Biden has created crisis after crisis, leaving American families to suffer the consequences, but he doesn't care."

Democrats have only carried it twice since 1976 though many of those defeats have been close. Including in 2020, when Biden lost by just over 1% of the vote.

White House pool reporters contributed to this report.