President Joe Biden will travel to Seattle next Friday in his first local visit as president, according to the White House.
While details have yet to be announced, Biden will use the Earth Day appearance “to discuss his Administration’s efforts to continue bringing down costs for American families and growing our clean energy economy,” the White House said in a news release Friday.
Before heading to Seattle, Biden will visit Portland on Thursday to promote the “unprecedented investments” in the $1 trillion infrastructure package approved by Congress and signed into law in November, according to the White House.
The Pacific Northwest swing comes amid sagging national approval numbers for the president, and growing worries among Democrats that discontent over high inflation will cost the party control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.
The Labor Department reported this week that the consumer price index rose 8.5% in March compared with 12 months earlier — the sharpest increase since 1981. That has meant Americans are paying more for groceries, gasoline and other necessities, with wage increases not keeping pace with the rising costs.
Biden has blamed the inflation spike in part on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, though the increases began before the conflict. Republicans have pointed to massive government spending that has juiced consumer demand while supply chain woes have crimped supplies.
Biden last visited Seattle in November 2019 while campaigning in the Democratic presidential primaries. He attended a fundraiser at the home of Amazon executive David Zapolsky. Biden went on to narrowly beat Bernie Sanders in the state’s 2020 Democratic primary, and easily beat Donald Trump here that November.
Additional details on Biden’s Seattle schedule were expected to be released in the coming days. No public events have been announced.
Visits by Democratic presidents typically include appearances with top state Democratic elected officials such as Gov. Jay Inslee, whose clean-energy advocacy could jibe with Biden’s Earth Day theme, and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, who is seeking a sixth term this fall.
Spokespersons for Inslee and Murray said on Friday they had no further details to share on Biden’s itinerary.
The last presidential stopover in Washington state came in June 2016, when President Barack Obama made a political fundraising swing to raise money for Inslee’s reelection campaign and for congressional Democrats.