Biden’s Mack tour features flags, supporters, demonstrators and electric trucks

Written by on July 28, 2021

Biden’s Mack tour features flags, supporters, demonstrators and electric trucks

By Megan Frank and Tyler Pratt

July 28, 2021

Supporters of former President Donald Trump at a CVS across the street from Mack Trucks in Lower Macungie on July 28, 2021. Photo | Tyler Pratt / WLVR

President Joe Biden arrived in the Lehigh Valley July 28, touching down around noon to be greeted, among others, by Gov. Tom Wolf and U.S. Rep. Susan Wild (D-Lehigh).

In the neighborhood surrounding Lehigh Valley International Airport, about a dozen people gathered along Airport Road to watch Air Force One land.

Air Force One landing at the Lehigh Valley International Airport on July 28, 2021. Photo | PBS39

A handful of Biden supporters carried signs that called for voting rights and some waved small American flags. 

Supporters of former President Donald Trump were also there to watch. One in a large black pick up truck had a giant “Trump” flag flying over its bed. 

When Biden’s motorcade drove by, some of the group cheered while others booed. They all cleared out within a few minutes after the motorcade passed by. 

The president’s visit is focused on a stop at Mack Trucks Lehigh Valley Operations for a facility tour, where he spoke about and promoted his American Jobs Plan

According to the company, every Mack Truck built for the North American market gets its start at the facility.

Approaching the Lower Macungie Township plant, Biden supporters waved American flags and said the relatively new president is doing “a pretty good job.”

Across the street at CVS, supporters of former President Donald Trump waved “Stop the Steal” and “Blue Lives Matter” flags. 

Once inside the sprawling facility, Biden made three production stops and spoke with employees and local United Auto Workers (UAW) members about how they manufacture trucks there, including those of the electric variety.

Demonstrators line the road next to the airport. Photo | Megan Frank / WLVR

Mack President Martin Weissburg and Kevin Fronheiser, shop chairman of UAW Local 677 guided Biden at all stops throughout the plant.

At the first stop, red and white truck cabs flanked by two blue “Made In America” signs and a large red “Made in America” flag seemed to emphasize that there is nothing more American than a Mack Truck, a company founded in 1900. 

There, workers Glenn Gray and Stephen Villanueva-Medina gave the president an overview of the finishing assembly line for Mack truck cabs and a truck cab as it was about to be completed and move to the next phase of the production process.

More than 1,500 Mack Trucks help to populate the federal fleet, according to the company, and are used by both military and civilian agencies. Mack Trucks has been making vehicles for the U.S military since at least World War I.

At his second stop, employees Tammy Flower and Eric Meyers gave Biden an overview of how cabs are dropped onto a chassis during production and a cab about to be fastened to a chassis before moving to the next phase of the production process.

The room at Mack Trucks waiting for President Joe Biden to speak on July 28, 2021. Photo | Devon Kortan / WLVR

Flower told the president that it was a “great honor” to greet him and noted that “it has been a tough year,” and Meyers told Biden that he was the third generation in his family working at the plant.

The presidential tour ended with a blue electric refuse truck. Workers Jake Evans, Heather Bouchar, and Shawn Smith filled Biden in with the details. The ability to build and sell these new trucks would be helped by the president’s proposed investments in “Buy American” production incentives for domestic electric vehicle manufacturing, Mack officials said. 

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