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Biden uses kickoff rally to appeal to blue collar workers, tear into Trump

2020 candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden launched his campaign inside a union hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Monday with an appeal to the blue collar workers who helped hand Trump his electoral college victory in 2016.

"There are three basic reasons why I am running for president of the United States. First, to restore the soul of the nation. The second is to rebuild the backbone of the nation. And the third is to unify this nation. We always do better when we act as one America."

The big picture: On the heels of this morning's attacks by President Trump over earning the endorsement of the nation's largest firefighter's union, Biden told a largely white crowd: "I make no apologies. I am a union man." Biden used the rally to endorse a $15 minimum wage, call for free community college and the prohibition of "non-compete" agreements for low-wage workers, and advocate for a public option instead of Medicare for All.

Other highlights:

  • In striking a pro-labor tone, Biden took aim at Trump's economic policies and vowed to roll back the Republican tax cuts.
  • He lauded organized labor and berated Wall Street leaders and companies that used the Trump tax cuts to purchase their stocks.
  • "The country wasn't built by Wall Street bankers, CEOs and  hedge fund managers. It was built by you. It was built by the great American middle class. And America, America middle class was built by unions, by you. The stock market is roaring, but you don't feel it," Biden said.
  • The former vice president also sought to appeal for a more hopeful and inclusive vision of America, saying: "The only thing that stands in our way is our broken system that's continually being undermined by our president. Donald Trump is the only president who's decided not to represent the whole country. The president has his base. We need a president that works for all Americans."

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about 2020 candidate Joe Biden