President Biden will travel to deep-red Alabama on Tuesday for an unusual domestic trip focused on his response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Biden’s trip on Tuesday to a Lockheed Martin facility in Alabama marks a shift from his typical travel within the U.S., which has largely been focused on swing states where Democrats are in tough reelection campaigns and has consisted of him touting his domestic accomplishments.
“Alabama is one of those states where I’m not even sure the Republican wave has crested yet,” said Charles Bullock, a political scientist at the University of Georgia. “In Alabama, it’s still going full bore.”
Where he’s going: The Lockheed Martin facility is located in Troy in Pike County, which former President Trump won by double digits in 2020. Still, the surrounding area is heavily Black and leans Democratic; Biden defeated Trump by 50 points and more than 60 points in the nearby Bullock and Macon Counties, respectively.
“He should get a friendly response in that area,” Bullock said.
It will be Biden’s first visit as president to Alabama, where his current approval rating is underwater by 32 percentage points, according to Morning Consult.
A different kind of trip: Alabama won’t be the first red state that Biden has visited while in office — he’s also stopped in Louisiana and Texas — but the visit stands out amid a flurry of other trips to help boost Democrats facing difficult reelections.
Biden has stepped up his domestic travel with the midterms quickly approaching, but has been challenged with balancing touring the U.S. with focusing on the war in Ukraine. When he went to Europe at the end of March to meet with European leaders and Ukrainian refugees, Biden’s domestic trips largely stopped for about a month.
And while Biden’s recent domestic trips has spotlighted investments from the bipartisan infrastructure law while working to revive parts of his sweeping domestic climate and social spending proposal, Tuesday’s trip will have a decidedly different focus: U.S. military assistance to Ukraine.
The intent: The Lockheed Martin facility manufactures weapons systems like the Javelin anti-tank missiles, which the U.S. has provided Ukraine.
Biden is expected to use the trip in part to push Congress to quickly approve the $33 billion he has requested in additional military, economic and humanitarian assistance to address Russia’s war in Ukraine.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday said a goal of Biden’s trip is “to make the case in these remarks about how vital it is to move this legislation forward.”
Biden on Tuesday will also argue it is important for Congress to quickly pass the Bipartisan Innovation Act, which aims to boost domestic manufacturing of semiconductors. Each Javelin missile requires more than 200 semiconductors to make, according to Psaki.
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