Skip to Content Facebook Feature Image

Teamsters president will speak at the Republican National Convention

News

Teamsters president will speak at the Republican National Convention
News

News

Teamsters president will speak at the Republican National Convention

2024-06-22 07:39 Last Updated At:07:40

CHAPIN, S.C. (AP) — The president of the Teamsters Union is set to speak at next month's Republican National Convention, as Donald Trump angles to chip away at President Joe Biden's support among the blue-collar workers who are expected to play a major role in the general election, particularly in crucial Midwestern swing states like Wisconsin and Michigan.

In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump said that Sean O'Brien had “accepted my invitation to speak at the RNC Convention in Milwaukee."

Teamsters spokesperson Kara Deniz said Friday that O'Brien had requested a speaking slot at both major party conventions and accepted Trump's invitation for the RNC, marking the first time a Teamsters president would speak at the GOP event.

Planners for the Democratic National Convention said Friday that no final decisions about programming had yet been made for the August event.

“We are building a convention in Chicago that will tell our story to the American people, including the stories of labor and union leaders and workers that President Biden has been delivering for as the most pro-union president in modern history," party spokesperson Matt Hill told The Associated Press.

Trump has been trying to make inroads among Biden's support among organized labor heading into the general election, as he works to win over the blue-collar workers who helped fuel his 2016 victory. Union members tend to vote Democratic, with 56% of members and households backing Biden in 2020, according to AP VoteCast.

In September, while his GOP rivals met for a debate, Trump traveled to Michigan and tried to win over autoworkers by lambasting Biden’s electric vehicles push in the midst of a strike. During his speech, Trump urged the United Auto Workers to endorse him, directly appealing to union president Shawn Fain — though he spoke from the floor of a nonunionized auto-parts plant.

Fain instead called Trump a “scab,” a derogatory term for workers who cross union picket lines and work during a strike, as he endorsed Biden. In January, Trump called on UAW members to oust Fain after the group endorsed Biden.

O’Brien meanwhile has met privately with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club, where the two discussed issues including right-to-work laws that allow those in unionized workplaces to opt out of paying dues and fees. After a roundtable with Teamster leaders in January, Trump called the event “a very productive meeting,” acknowledging that the union typically backs Democrats, but, referencing the possibility of an endorsement, “Stranger things have happened.”

O’Brien later described the roundtable conversation with Trump as “pleasant” and “direct” but said the union was a long way from making a decision. After meeting with Biden in March, O'Brien said the president has been “great” for workers but stressed that “there’s still a lot of work to be done” to bolster unions.

Biden — who has long billed himself as the most labor-friendly president in history, going so far as to turn up on a picket line in the Detroit area during the autoworkers strike last fall — has already received significant organized labor backing with early endorsements from the AFL-CIO and others. But Trump is hoping to cut into that support as he casts himself as pro-worker and tries to exacerbate divisions between union leaders and some rank-and-file members.

The Teamsters union represents 1.3 million workers, including UPS drivers, film and television workers, freight operators, members of law enforcement and other government workers.

It backed Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020, although O’Brien has stressed that the union is keeping an open mind on endorsements this cycle. The group generally waits until after both parties’ summer nominating conventions to make a formal endorsement, and it will “most likely” do so again this year, once it polls its members, solicits rank-and-file input and reconvenes its leadership team, O’Brien has said.

Associated Press writer Linley Sanders in Washington contributed to this report.

Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Racine, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Racine, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Donald Trump said he plans to announce his vice presidential pick on Monday, the first day of the Republican National Convention.

It remains unclear whether the assassination attempt Saturday at his Pennsylvania rally has changed the former president's thinking about his potential second-in-command. But he told Fox News Channel host Bret Baier in a call that he planned to make his pick Monday.

The roll call vote to nominate that person is expected Monday, according to a person with direct knowledge of the schedule who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The person cautioned that Trump could always change his mind.

After Saturday's shooting, Trump's choice carries considerably more gravity. If a bullet had struck just a little bit to the right, Trump likely would have been killed or seriously injured.

The close call puts in stark relief the significance of a position that is a heartbeat away from the presidency. Trump has repeatedly claimed that choosing someone who was qualified to take over as commander in chief was his top consideration for the role.

“You need somebody that can be good just in case, that horrible just in case,” he said in an interview with “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” in May.

In an interview with Fox News’ Harris Faulkner taped hours before the Butler, Pennsylvania, rally, Trump was asked about how close he was to his VP pick and whether his decision-making would change if President Joe Biden steps aside.

“It’s a very important position especially if something bad should happen,” Trump said. “That’s the most important, if something bad should happen.”

Those on Trump's shortlist have differing levels of governing experience. Ohio Sen. JD Vance, for instance, has been in office less than two years, while North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum helms a state with a population (780,000 people) smaller than Columbus, Ohio (908,000). Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has been in politics for decades and is in his third term in the Senate.

Before the shooting, Trump had made clear that he wanted to dramatically reveal his pick at the convention, which he said would make it more “interesting” and “exciting.”

“It’s like a highly sophisticated version of ‘The Apprentice,’” he quipped in a radio interview last week, referring to the show he once hosted that featured him firing contestants on camera.

Trump and convention organizers have said the RNC's schedule will go on as planned despite the shooting, with Trump writing on his social media site that he could not “allow a ‘shooter,’ or potential assassin, to force change to scheduling, or anything else.”

“In this moment, it is more important than ever that we stand United, and show our True Character as Americans, remaining Strong and Determined, and not allowing Evil to Win,” he wrote.

He held meetings in the days before the shooting with the top contenders. All have submitted material, including bios and photographs, to convention organizers that can be used to prepare content if they're picked, according to multiple people familiar with the conversations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the secretive process.

The private meetings with Vance, Rubio and Burgum were first reported by ABC News.

Nothing was offered during the meetings, one of the people said.

Trump waiting until the convention to choose a running mate is later than usual for recent cycles but is hardly unprecedented.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan negotiated with former President Gerald Ford for hours during the Republican convention in Detroit but settled on his former primary rival George H.W. Bush when those discussions collapsed. Reagan cut it so close that his decision came less than 24 hours before he formally accepted the GOP nomination.

Bush himself waited until the 1988 Republican convention in New Orleans before shocking many attendees — as well as some of the then-vice president’s own top advisers — by picking little-known Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle to be his No. 2, rather than a more established running mate.

Since then, though, the tradition has been to pick a running mate shortly before the candidate’s party’s convention opens.

In 2008, Arizona Sen. John McCain, looking for a way to reset his race against Democrat Barack Obama, picked little-known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin shortly before the Republican convention opened in Minnesota. He got a bump in the polls that didn't last.

Biden, a Democrat, tapped then-California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate six days before his party opened its convention, which was held mostly virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. And Trump chose Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in the days before the 2016 Republican convention opened in Cleveland.

Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Will Weissert contributed to this report from Washington.

Follow the AP's coverage of the 2024 election at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2024.

Security vehicles are parked outside the home of Ohio Sen. JD Vance, who is on Donald Trump's vice presidential short list, Monday, July 15, 2024, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

Security vehicles are parked outside the home of Ohio Sen. JD Vance, who is on Donald Trump's vice presidential short list, Monday, July 15, 2024, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

Security vehicles are parked outside the home of Ohio Sen. JD Vance, who is on Donald Trump's vice presidential short list, Monday, July 15, 2024, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

Security vehicles are parked outside the home of Ohio Sen. JD Vance, who is on Donald Trump's vice presidential short list, Monday, July 15, 2024, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

Security vehicles are parked outside the home of Ohio Sen. JD Vance, who is on Donald Trump's vice presidential short list, Monday, July 15, 2024, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

Security vehicles are parked outside the home of Ohio Sen. JD Vance, who is on Donald Trump's vice presidential short list, Monday, July 15, 2024, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

Former President Trump waves to supporters after arriving to the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport ahead of the 2024 Republican National Convention, Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Former President Trump waves to supporters after arriving to the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport ahead of the 2024 Republican National Convention, Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

FILE - Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks, June 14, 2024, in West Palm Beach, Fla. Rubio is a top contender to be selected as Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump's running mate. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

FILE - Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks, June 14, 2024, in West Palm Beach, Fla. Rubio is a top contender to be selected as Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump's running mate. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, right, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum attend a caucus night rally, Feb. 8, 2024, in Las Vegas. Burgum, who has grown close with the former president since he dropped his own bid for the nomination before voting began, is the third top contender for Trump's running mate. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, right, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum attend a caucus night rally, Feb. 8, 2024, in Las Vegas. Burgum, who has grown close with the former president since he dropped his own bid for the nomination before voting began, is the third top contender for Trump's running mate. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

FILE - Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump at a campaign rally, March 16, 2024, in Vandalia, Ohio. Vance is a top contender to be selected as Trump's running mate. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean, File)

FILE - Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump at a campaign rally, March 16, 2024, in Vandalia, Ohio. Vance is a top contender to be selected as Trump's running mate. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean, File)

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, July 9, 2024, in Doral, Fla. Trump waiting until the actual convention to choose a running mate is later than usual for recent cycles, but hardly unprecedented. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, July 9, 2024, in Doral, Fla. Trump waiting until the actual convention to choose a running mate is later than usual for recent cycles, but hardly unprecedented. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

Recommended Articles