Biden tells union leaders ‘they’re warning me’ not to speak too long

President Biden told union leaders that he’d been warned not to spend too much time speaking to them on Wednesday ahead of NATO summit proceedings.

Biden’s schedule stated that he would “drop by” the AFL-CIO union meeting in Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning, and he kept his remarks to the group brief. Biden has a packed schedule for the final three days of the week, and his public appearances are under more scrutiny now as Democrats have begun calling for him to drop out of the presidential race.

“With your help and your leadership, we’re going to build this country from the bottom up and then middle out, not the top down,” Biden told the union leaders. “Now, they’re warning me not to take too much time with you all today, in terms of talking.”

Biden wrapped up his remarks soon after the statement. He is scheduled to appear at the NATO summit in Washington, D.C., later on Wednesday. 

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Experts say this multi-day summit is a “pivotal” moment for Biden, during which he must make his case that he is fit to serve as his party’s nominee.

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“This week is pivotal for President Biden, not only because of the intense interest in what he will be saying at his press events but also because this summit provides a clear example of restored American global leadership in support of our nation’s defense,” Joel Rubin, a former State Department official during the Obama administration, told Fox News Digital.

“The long-term bipartisan investment in NATO is paying off, and the president will have a chance, at this summit, to remind the American people about why his approach of building security coalitions with global partners advances both America’s security abroad and our economy right here at home,” he added.

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Biden has faced growing resistance to his campaign for re-election ever since his debate against the presumptive GOP nominee, former President Trump, which many deemed a disaster for showcasing the president in a worse light than many anticipated. Trump at one point said, “I really don’t know what he said at the end of that sentence” as Biden appeared to trail off during one of his answers.

Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., told Fox News Digital that Biden “must show the American public that he has the ability to serve out the remainder of this term, let alone a future one” as the “eyes of the world” watch the NATO summit. 

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“It is on President Biden to show he’s capable and up to the task,” Lawler said. “What we’ve seen in recent weeks doesn’t cut it.”

Fox News’ Peter Aitken contributed to this report