President Joe Biden will make two appearances in the Seattle region on Earth Day, including a lecture at Green River College in Auburn and the signing of an executive order to conserve old-growth forests in Seattle.
Biden arrived in Washington on Thursday evening, touching down at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport shortly before 5:30 p.m., after a stop in Portland to hawk substantial new government infrastructure spending.
Biden was expected to spend Thursday night in Seattle, where streets near the downtown Westin Hotel were sealed off and tightly guarded by police, after appearing at a private political event for the Democratic National Committee sponsored by Microsoft President Brad Smith.
The presidential motorcade’s two scheduled engagements on Friday, neither of which are available to the public, are expected to result in more temporary road and motorway closures.
The first visits of Biden’s presidency, to Portland and Seattle, mixed political and official stops. Biden’s trip to the Pacific Northwest comes as his job popularity ratings have dipped in national polls ahead of the midterm elections, owing in part to concerns about rising food, housing, and gas prices.
For Biden, Seattle is a relatively favorable environment. In 2020, the former vice president and long-serving senator from Delaware comfortably defeated Donald Trump in Washington, garnering 58 percent of the vote. Biden received 75% of the vote in King County.
Nonetheless, the president’s visit is expected to draw criticism from both climate activists and Republicans aiming to blame his administration for rising consumer bills, increasing homeless encampments, and crime.
Biden gave a spirited defense of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill he fought through Congress last year in Portland on Thursday, citing the $25 billion included for improving Portland International and other airports, as well as broad investments in clean water, highways, bridges, ports, and assistance for communities dealing with drought and wildfires.
After proclaiming this the “infrastructure decade,” Biden remarked, “Let’s get the hell up and take this country back in a way that will lead the world again.”
He started speaking just after 2:30 p.m. and spoke for less than half an hour. Among the 100 visitors, he shook hands and posed for photos with members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48 and others. He then left for an afternoon fundraiser at the Portland Yacht Club, where he reassured supporters that the United States would not commit soldiers to Ukraine.
Joe Biden, a Seattle resident, arrived in the city on Thursday, a day before he was set to speak about clean energy.
Following a trip to Portland, Oregon, Biden arrived in Seattle shortly after 5 p.m. on Thursday. On Friday afternoon, he is due to fly back to the East Coast. Biden’s visit to the Pacific Northwest is his first since his election.
Biden is expected to drive north to a private function in Seattle once Air Force One lands at Sea-Tac Airport.
Due to Biden’s arrival, Sea-Tac Airport warned travelers to expect delays in the early evening hours of Thursday. All flight traffic must come to a halt 30 minutes before and after arrival, according to security procedures.
Due to the President’s arrival, the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 were briefly closed at Rainier Avenue. After roughly twenty minutes, traffic began to move, although bottlenecks are likely to last into the evening.
Due of Biden’s arrival, Washington State Patrol Trooper Rick Johnson warned drivers in the Seattle area to expect “intermittent high congestion due to temporary closures of the freeway system” Thursday evening and Friday.
Biden will spend the night in Seattle before speaking on Earth Day about his administration’s efforts to expand the country’s clean energy sector while also lowering costs for households, according to the White House.
The White House announced that the US Department of Health and Human Services will release more than $385 million to states under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to assist families and people with their home energy bills (LIHEAP).
The state of Washington will receive an additional $6.5 million, increasing the total amount of LIHEAP funds to $151.2 million.
Biden will attend an event at Seward Park in Seattle on Friday morning before heading to Green River College, according to multiple sources. According to the Washington Post, Biden will sign an executive order to conserve old-growth forests.
Biden is scheduled to speak in the Mel Lindbloom Student Union at Green River College and meet with elected officials and a small group of people from the college’s community, including students. The event is only open to those who have received an invitation.
Green River College President Suzanne Johnson wrote in a letter that the college was chosen for Biden’s tour because of the career and technical programs it offers, such as its nursing school, which help the region’s workforce development.
During his appearances in Seattle on Friday, Biden will be accompanied by Governor Jay Inslee, Congresswoman Kim Schrier, and Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, according to Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
Biden is likely to reiterate his calls for Congress to adopt legislation to slash prescription drug prices, as well as executive actions such as extending the student loan payment moratorium and amending the Affordable Care Act, during his trip.
Politics will also be on Biden’s agenda. While in Portland and Seattle, he expects to attend fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee.
In Portland, Biden spoke at Portland International Airport about the importance of making vital infrastructure investments to ensure that the city’s infrastructure is stronger and more robust. Biden also mentioned the investments done at PDX, which were made possible in part by the infrastructure package passed by Congress this fall.
Meanwhile, several Republicans have criticized President Trump’s message during his trip to the Pacific Northwest. Biden should concentrate on the economy, according to Republican National Committee spokeswoman Paris Dennard.
“At the end of the day, voters are more concerned about other matters right now,” Dennard added. “What is Joe Biden and the Democrats doing right now to fight inflation, violence, rising gas prices, and the fentanyl problem brought on by open border policies? For voters in Seattle, this is a major concern. That’s on voters’ minds across the state of Washington.”