Biden Heads to Pennsylvania to Talk Taxes and Hit Trump

President Biden will kick off a three-day tour of Pennsylvania, a crucial battleground state, with a speech on Tuesday that focuses on taxes and aims to contrast his policies with those of former President Donald J. Trump.

In Scranton, his hometown, Mr. Biden is expected to talk about the tax code in the frame of economic fairness, arguing that Mr. Trump’s tax cuts benefited billionaires while his own agenda has helped working- and middle-class families.

The president “will outline how Trump’s tax plan is a handout to the rich and leaves the middle class holding the bag,” Michael Tyler, the Biden campaign’s communications director, said during a call with reporters. “The address will drive home a simple question: Do you think the tax code should work for rich people and for corporations or for the middle class?”

All of that is standard election-year fare. But the backdrop to Mr. Biden’s campaign swing could not be more unusual. In an unprecedented trial, Mr. Trump is spending most of this week, and much of the coming month or two, in a Manhattan courtroom facing criminal charges. Democrats hope that the contrast of Mr. Biden campaigning and carrying out the duties of a president while Mr. Trump’s lawyers plead his innocence will highlight the choice voters face in November.

And Mr. Biden must also contend with the fallout from Iran’s weekend attack on Israel, which raised new fears of a wider regional war in the Middle East.

On Tuesday, the day after Tax Day, Mr. Biden is likely to promote his plans for changes to the tax code, including expanding the child tax credit, instituting a tax credit for first-time home buyers and making permanent tax credits for those who buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

He often asks his audiences on the campaign trail: “Does anybody think the tax code is fair?”

Pennsylvania is a key target for both the Biden and Trump campaigns. Mr. Biden’s easiest path to re-election involves him winning Pennsylvania, as well as Michigan and Wisconsin, the so-called blue wall states. In 2020, he narrowly defeated Mr. Trump in Pennsylvania by about 80,000 votes. Polling shows that another tight race is likely in the state, the nation’s most populous battleground.

Mr. Trump held a major rally in eastern Pennsylvania on Saturday. Both he and Mr. Biden, who spent much of his childhood in Scranton, have sought to highlight their ties to the state. “I went to school here, right?” Mr. Trump, a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, reminded his audience. “I went to school in Pennsylvania. I love Pennsylvania.”

While Mr. Biden’s campaign has invested heavily in opening offices and hiring staff members around the state, Pennsylvania Democrats have urged him to broaden his travel beyond Philadelphia, a major hub of Democratic votes that is also logistically convenient for him to visit. They say it is imperative that Mr. Biden campaign in western Pennsylvania, as well as swing areas like Erie County, which Mr. Biden flipped in 2020.

This week, Mr. Biden is doing just that. After leaving Scranton, he will visit Pittsburgh on Wednesday to give an official address at the headquarters of the United Steelworkers. Unions are a major constituency for Democrats, and Mr. Biden has signaled opposition to an effort by a Japanese company to acquire U.S. Steel, a move also opposed by the steelworkers union, which has endorsed him.

On Thursday, he will campaign in Philadelphia.

Although the economy will be Mr. Biden’s focus during his tour, Democrats are also trying to keep the issue of abortion front and center, seeking to tie Mr. Trump directly to bans on the procedure in many states, most recently in Arizona.

Ahead of Mr. Trump’s visit to Pennsylvania over the weekend, the Democratic National Committee unveiled billboards in the eastern part of the state.

“Because of Trump, over 20 states have extreme abortion bans,” the billboards said in English and Spanish. “If he gets his way, Pennsylvania could be next.”

Abortion is legal in the state until 24 weeks of pregnancy with exceptions after that and, with a Democratic governor in office, restrictions seem highly unlikely. Democrats have argued that Mr. Trump would sign a federal ban on abortion if he were re-elected. Mr. Trump said last week that he would not, reversing a position he held during his term in the White House.

Michael Gold contributed reporting from Schnecksville, Pa.

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