President Biden on Monday jetted out to California where he was warmly greeted by California by Gov. Gavin Newsom — ostensibly for a discussion on recent wildfires, but also ahead of an evening rally for the governor, who faces a tough recall election on Tuesday.
Biden traveled to the state to stump for Newsom but expressed gratitude for firemen at the state’s Office of Emergency Services in Sacramento.
“It’s not any insult to law enforcement, but more firefighters are injured or die as a percent than police officers do. And police officers, I wouldn’t take your job in a heartbeat,” Biden said.
Biden said fire-fighting is an even more dangerous job than working as a police officer, and noted his recent action to raise federal fire fighter hourly wages to $15 from as little as $11 per hour.
He also told of how his own home in Delaware caught fire in 2004 after a lightning strike.
“The air conditioning just was billowing out smoke,” Biden told the state workers.
Biden said firefighters saved his house and its occupants, including wife Jill and a cat.
“My fire company came and smoke was so thick — not a joke — and the firefighters, I mean, you could not see in the house from the basement floor all the way to the third floor, not a single thing. And my fire service went and they saved my wife, and she said saved the cat and my ’67 Corvette,” he said to laughter.
Biden spoke in the state capital before flying to the Los Angeles area for an evening rally with Newsom on the eve of the recall vote, which hinges on Democratic turnout.
Newsom praised Biden as like-minded in attributing large wildfires to climate change. “I would stipulate the most powerful force on the planet is is not even the president of the United States, it’s Mother Nature,” Newsom said while introducing Biden and thanking him for his work to address “the ravages of climate change.”
Biden said “wildfires are being supercharged by climate change.”
“The governor has led his state with poise and strong leadership. He’s been an innovator on items of long term solutions. And he and I are both optimistic,” Biden said.
While in Sacramento, Biden also promoted his $3.5 trillion social spending bill, which Democrats hope to ram through Congress without Republican votes using special budget reconciliation rules. Democratic moderates are putting up a fight against the price tag and associated tax hikes, which were unable to gain enough support for a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate.
“Let’s assume they do pass my $3.5 trillion proposal to build back better, which has $300 billion for fire mitigation. Okay? That’s over 10 years…. And it’s expected that the economy will grow, the GDP of the economy over the next 10 years be $299 trillion…five tenths of 1% of the entire GDP and we pay for it,” he said.
“All of this malarky — we have no problem coming up with $2 trillion in tax cuts for people who don’t need it. But I’m serious. So we can’t afford not to do it, but we can afford to do it.”
Earlier Monday, Biden stopped in Idaho to discuss recent wildfires. While there, he said that his “first job offer” came from an Idaho lumber firm Boise Cascade during Vietnam War. But the company told The Post it has no record of Biden applying.