Biden concludes speeches at Seattle-area events

KING COUNTY, Wash. — As President Joe Biden’s visit to Seattle concluded, he spent time on Friday, Earth Day, talking about the environment.

His first stop was Seward Park, where large crowds of protesters gathered nearby, some with signs such as, “Biden: no fossil fuel projects!” A small child was seen holding a sign that said, “There is no Planet B.”

Biden arrived at about 11 a.m., and spoke about tackling the climate crisis, safeguarding the nation’s forests and bolstering resilience during threats like wildfire. Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell was seen standing behind the president.

Biden also signed an executive order protecting some of the nation’s largest and oldest trees.

The president also visited Green River College in Auburn, an invitation-only event, where he spoke about recent actions to lower costs and give families more breathing room, and called on Congress to pass his plan to lower health care and energy costs.

“Prescription drugs are outrageously expensive,” Biden said. “Let’s end the days when companies could increase prices with no oversight and no accountability.”

Biden spoke about capping the cost of insulin at $35 a month, and also the high cost of child care.

He said he could not afford child care back when he was a single dad.

“I’m more optimistic about America today than I’ve been my whole, my whole career,” he said. “We’re the only nation on earth that’s come out stronger. The reason I’m so optimistic: you are the least prejudiced, the most involved, the most concerned generation in American history.”

At the conclusion of his speech at Green River College, Biden took Marine One to Sea-Tac International Airport to board Air Force One.

The president’s departure reportedly was delayed due to a suspicious vehicle at the airport.

Friday’s events followed a busy Thursday for the president.

“He’s going to be talking about some of those measures that we want to take, to put more money in people’s pocket,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Chris Meagher said in a Zoom meeting Thursday.

Washington Republicans seized on statements like that to highlight inflation.

“The idea that President Biden is coming to tout how he’s saving families money, I think is dishonest at best,” Washington State Republican Party Chairman Caleb Heimlich said.

Biden’s first stop in Seattle on Thursday was Madison Park, where he spoke at a Democratic National Committee (DNC) fundraiser that night.

The fundraiser was hosted by Microsoft President Brad Smith.

Introducing Biden to the crowd, Smith said, “It’s hard to believe that time is going so quickly. It’s remarkable to think about what you and your team have accomplished in just the past 15 months. No president has ever moved so fast and so far to reduce unemployment in our country.”

People at the fundraiser applauded those words.

The president opened by thanking those at the fundraiser for not requesting favors after he had been elected.

The president also spoke about rebuilding the middle class and the effect that the war in Ukraine is having on the economy. “People are concerned, uncertain and angry. They’re angry. They don’t know quite what to do because again, when gasoline rose to over $4 a gallon, it’s a big deal.”

Before the president arrived in Seattle, he stopped in Portland, Oregon, and gave a speech about infrastructure spending, including an earthquake-resilient runway planned for the city’s airport.

“The last guy who had this job talked about infrastructure week. Every week he’d talk about infrastructure week. It didn’t come for four years. Well, I gave you infrastructure decade, this is for 10 years,” the president said, in part.

Biden also cited high gas prices while he was in Portland.

“We need to get off this roller coaster of relying on oil. We need to declare America’s energy independence. We need to accelerate our path to clean, renewable energy.”

For some in Seattle who came out to see the president, they said they would have it no other way.

“We’re really big on getting out into the environment, hiking, walking, that kind of stuff, and I think it’s great he’s coming here to talk about his agenda,” an unnamed Seattle resident said.