President Joe Biden celebrates his 100th day in office with a trip to Georgia on Thursday, meeting former President Jimmy Carter and planning to spend trillions of dollars on rebuilding the U.S. economy.
After a short period on the road due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden stepped up his travel schedule after his first speech at Wednesday’s joint Congress session. He will have a drive-in rally near Atlanta on Thursday, and in coming days, additional campaign-style stops are expected in Pennsylvania and Virginia.
During his speech to Congress, Biden appealed to Americans to support his “blue-collar blueprint” for reform, promising his administration would spend a combined $4 trillion on middle-class families and infrastructure.
Biden said his policies would add millions of good-paid jobs and trillions of dollars to economic production in coming years while working to reverse structural racism for decades.
Georgia’s Democratic Party said Biden would appear at Duluth’s “Getting America Back on Track” rally, about 30 miles north of Atlanta.
The Democratic president also wants to meet Carter, a close friend who’s the longest-living U.S. president at 96.
Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter, 93, were unable to attend Biden’s January inauguration due to the pandemic, but the two men spoke the night before.
First lady Jill Biden will accompany Biden to visit Carters in Plains, Georgia, about 240 km south of Atlanta. Both partners are vaccinated.
Biden was the first U.S. senator to support Carter’s presidential run in 1976, and they’ve been close for decades.
Carter, president from 1977 to 1981 and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has suffered a series of health issues in recent years, including falls and skin cancer.
Biden is also scheduled to meet with Georgia’s two Democratic U.S. senators, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, whose Republican-led elections won Senate Democrats control, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
In November’s presidential election, Biden led Georgia, the first Democrat in 28 years.
His visit comes a day after the U.S. Department of Justice charged three white men with federal hate crimes and the alleged kidnapping of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who died last year after he was shot down while jogging through a suburban neighbourhood in southern Georgia.
Georgia has been a hot spot in a national voting battle.
Over 100 U.S. businesses, civil rights groups, and sports leagues spoke out against voting rights curbs passed by the Republican state legislature in Georgia.
Biden strongly criticised Georgia’s restrictions, calling them “sick” and “un-American.”
Similar proposals are being considered in other Republican-controlled states, where supporters used former President Donald Trump’s false accusations of electoral fraud in last year’s election to press for reforms they argue are required to boost electoral integrity.
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