© Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks to the Truman Civil Rights Symposium on the 75th anniversary of the racial desegregation of the U.S. military, at the National Archives Museum in Washington, U.S. July 27, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

By Trevor Hunnicutt and Jarrett Renshaw

AUBURN, Maine (Reuters) -President Joe Biden joked Friday about Republican lawmakers threatening to impeach him, saying the latest reports on U.S. economic gains mean his political opponents “may have to find something else to criticize” him over.

House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in Washington, this week suggested he could launch an impeachment inquiry probing whether Biden was entwined with the business deals of his son, Hunter Biden. The White House has said Biden was never in business with his son.

“Republicans may have to find something else to criticize me for now that inflation is coming down. Maybe they’ll decide to impeach me because it’s coming down. I don’t know. I’d love that one,” Biden said.

Republicans have for years accused Hunter Biden of leveraging his father’s political power for personal gain, though a probe by U.S. Attorney David Weiss of Delaware, a Trump appointee, has not turned up any evidence to support those claims.

Biden spoke during a visit to a Republican district in Maine, his first trip to the state since winning the White House, laying out his economic case for a second term at a woman-owned local factory and celebrating new jobs in the state.

“Workers who have been left behind for decades aren’t just finding jobs, more jobs, they’re finding better jobs, with higher pay,” Biden said.

Maine, alone, has seen 28,700 new jobs since the pandemic, he said, speaking at Auburn Manufacturing Inc, a company that produces heat- and fire-resistant fabrics primarily with domestic-made materials.

He also promoted a decline in inflation, saying it was due in part to his war on trickle-down economics, while touting an unusual benchmark for a U.S. president – squeezed company profits.

“One reason we had inflation fall by two thirds without losing jobs is that we’re seeing corporate profits start to fall as well,” Biden said. “We have more to do.”

FOCUS ON DOMESTIC JOBS

Biden’s trip comes amid a wave of favorable economic news. U.S. annual inflation fell in June to its slowest pace in more than two years, likely pushing the Federal Reserve closer to ending its fastest interest rate-hiking cycle since the 1980s. U.S. GDP grew by 2.4% in the second quarter, defying recession fears, and consumer confidence is at a two-year high.

company aggregate earnings for the second quarter fell 6.4% from a year ago.

Biden also issued an executive order that will boost incentives to manufacture new publicly funded inventions domestically.

Auburn, population 24,000, is located in Maine’s 2nd congressional district, which covers 80% of the state’s land mass and is the only district in New England that voted for Donald Trump in 2020. It’s more conservative, rural, white and working class than the state’s only other congressional district, which includes coastal cities and towns.

Biden detailed decades of job loss in Maine, as the state’s historical industries, including textiles and paper, shut factories for lower-cost destinations.

“Under trickle-down economics, it didn’t matter where companies made things as long as it helped their bottom line,” Biden said. But new investments and grants have helped companies like Auburn Manufacturing grow in Maine, instead, he said.

Trickle-down economics, which Republican President Ronald Reagan made a centerpiece of his economic strategy in the 1980s, asserts that tax breaks and other benefits for corporations and the wealthy will benefit everyone else.

Several Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives met at the White House on Friday to discuss implementing the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that Biden has signed into law.

A top House Democratic leader, Steny Hoyer, told reporters afterward that 37,000 projects are under way funded by the legislation.

“What we did is working in every part of the economy,” he said.



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