President Joe Biden was back in Philadelphia Monday on an afternoon that in many ways previewed his 2024 campaign.

President Joe Biden was back in Philadelphia Monday on an afternoon that in many ways previewed his 2024 campaign.

Three scenes from his visit — his 9th to the city this year — provided a snapshot of Biden’s campaign strategy and some of his looming challenges as he readies for a likely matchup with former President Donald Trump next year.

Biden spoke to firefighters in Francisville, where he touted federal grant money that will help staff and equip the department. It was part of an ongoing attempt by the campaign to connect his administration’s legislative achievements to tangible outcomes voters can support, particularly among working class and union voters.

He also addressed a banquet room of prominent Philadelphia donors and well-known politicians, from whom he needs financial backing and for whom he framed the stakes of his campaign as an inflection point for American democracy.

President JOe Biden told about 100 supporters at a fundraiser on Penn’s Landing that former President Donald Trump poses an existential threat to democracy.

He thanked the crowd, which included donors and politicians including former Govs. Tom Wolf and Ed Rendell, Sen. Chris Coons (D., Delaware) and U.S. Reps. Chrissy Houlahan and Madeleine Dean, both Pennsylvania Democrats.

Biden spoke in a banquet room atop the Hilton overlooking the Delaware River as attendees ate lunch. A crowd of several hundred protesters calling for a ceasefire in Gaza gathered outside but wasn’t audible from the event.

Biden pointed to comments Trump has made about being a dictator on day one to shrink the size of the federal government, and drew a contrast between Trump speaking of American carnage and his own vision for American hope.

Biden touted job creation, lower inflation, and the American Rescue Plan, which he said has funded $13 billion in Pennsylvania projects.

“All that progress is at stake in this next election,” he said.

Gov. Josh Shapiro introduced Biden as a president who “especially over the last few months” has demonstrated “moral clarity.” Shapiro used the same phrase to condemn former Penn president Liz Magill after her testimony to Congress, saying she showed a lack of moral clarity.

The White House also sharply criticized Magill.

As Biden’s motorcade left, it passed by a large protest of about 300 pro-Palestinian protesters chanting “Ceasefire now!”

Over 300 pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered in Washington Square ahead of President Joe Biden’s afternoon fundraiser at nearby Penn’s Landing.

Their message ahead of the president’s re-election stop in Philly was clear — that if he did not dramatically shift his support for the Israeli military campaign in Gaza and call for a humanitarian cease-fire as the war enters its third month, he would lose their support in next year’s presidential race.

“Come November we’ll remember,” the crowd chanted. “History will recall Joe Biden did nothing at all.”

The march began marching east toward Penn’s Landing around 1:20 p.m.

President Joe Biden thanked a group of assembled Philadelphia firefighters for their service to the city and announced federal funding that will recommission several fire companies in the city — including a ladder truck that would have been first to respond to the 2022 Fairmount fire had it been in operation.

The fire killed 12 people, including 9 children.

“God only knows if we’d been able to get there that much earlier and save lives,” Biden said at Ladder 1 in Francisville.

“This neighborhood now has a ladder truck on call.”

Biden opened with off-script remarks recalling two occasions when firefighters helped his family. He said fire fighters rushed him to Walter Reed in a snowstorm when he had an aneurism in 1988 and another responded to a fire in his Delaware home 15 years ago.


“God made man but he also made a few firefighters,” Biden said. “When the bell rings, you run toward it. Being a firefighter isn’t what you do it’s who you are, it’s who the hell you are,” he said pausing for emphasis.

Mayor Jim Kenney called the day of the Fairmount blaze one of the toughest of his eight years in office.

The funding will pay for 72 firefighter salaries and benefits over the next three years and bring three total companies back into service – including one in South Philadelphia, where Kenney’s dad once worked.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel expressed his condolences for family members of the victim of the fatal fire last night and noted it was the fourth incident in the last two weeks.

Thiel thanked Biden for the funding as firefighters lifted a tiller onto the truck and radioed that it was reopen for service to applause.

Pro-Palestinian activists plan to descend on President Biden’s scheduled fundraiser Monday afternoon to once again voice demands for a cease-fire and blast the administration for its support of the Israeli siege in Gaza.

In an Instagram post, the activist network Philly Palestine Coalition urged demonstrators to meet at Washington Square park at 1 p.m., a half-mile from Penn’s Landing where the president plans to hold an afternoon fundraiser for his reelection campaign alongside prominent Philadelphia Democrats.

The demonstration is billed as part of Monday’s global strike organized by Palestinian activists to demand a ceasefire in Gaza, but Philadelphia organizers have tailored their protest in light of Biden’s visit. The coalition blasted the administration’s Friday veto of a widely backed United Nations resolution calling for a humanitarian cease-fire as the war enters its third month.

“Let’s heed the call put out by brave Palestinians… and show the world that on this day of action, Philly will SHOW UP IN THE THOUSANDS!” the coalition wrote on Instagram.

President Joe Biden is scheduled to arrive at Philadelphia International Airport at 11:45 a.m., according to his public schedule.

From there, Biden is expected to meet with firefighters in Fairmount at 12:30 p.m. before touting a $22.4 million federal grant that will enable the Philadelphia Fire Department to reopen three shuttered fire companies — Engine 6, Ladder 1, and Ladder 11.

At 2:30 p.m., Biden will attend a fundraiser expected to take place near Penn’s Landing before departing Philadelphia at 3:40 p.m.

He’s scheduled to return to the White House at 4:40 p.m., where he and first lady Jill Biden are scheduled to host a Hanukkah reception later Monday evening.


President Joe Biden will meet with firefighters Monday to mark the receipt of a $22.4 million federal grant to the Philadelphia Fire Department that will fund additional firefighters’ salaries, reopen three shuttered fire companies and pay for a new class of trainees.

Biden is expected to meet with firefighters at Ladder 1, a fire company in Fairmount that was decommissioned nearly 15 years ago and is slated to reopen thanks to a federal grant announced earlier this year.

A White House official said Biden will emphasize his support for the firefighting community and pay tribute to those killed during the tragic Fairmount rowhouse fire in 2022, in which 12 people, including nine children died. The blaze likely began when a 5-year-old boy lit a Christmas tree ablaze in the unit, which did not have working smoke detectors.

In the aftermath of the fire, Mike Bresnan, who leads IAFF Local 22, told Biden that had Ladder 1 fire company not been decommissioned in 2008, it would have been the closest Ladder truck to the scene and would have responded to the call. He implored the president to secure funding to bring the company back in service.

Bresnan said Sunday that Biden’s administration delivering means that “he kept his word.”

The grant will also pay to reopen Engine 6 and Ladder 11 — both of which were decommissioned more than 14 years ago. It will fund the salaries and benefits of 72 firefighters for three years and fund a new class of trainees to enter the Philadelphia Fire Academy.

While campaigning for mayor eight years ago, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said that one of his priorities would be reactivating the fire company at 16th and Parrish Streets, one of seven that former Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration closed in 2009.

The closures were a cost-cutting measure amid the Great Recession and a massive shortfall in the city budget.

But the firefighters union strongly opposed the closures and its leaders have worked alongside Kenney and Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel to advocate for federal resources to reopen them.

The firehouse in North Philadelphia has been a key point of contention, especially since the January 2022 blaze, one of the deadliest in Philadelphia history. It was located about a mile away from the fire.

In the days immediately following the incident, Bresnan personally lobbied Biden for funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s program known as SAFER, or Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response.

Four years ago, Bresnan’s union bucked its national umbrella organization and endorsed former President Donald Trump’s reelection bid in a decision that was highly controversial.

A 400-member group of Black firefighters sued over the process and some members sought Bresnan’s ouster, saying he and other leaders didn’t follow the union’s bylaws. The local ultimately stood by its endorsement, and a judge dismissed the lawsuit in April 2021.

While in Philly, President Joe Biden will attend a fundraiser with Gov. Josh Shapiro, former Gov. Ed Rendell, and other prominent Philadelphia Democrats.

It’s Biden’s first fundraiser here since shortly before he launched his reelection campaign at the beginning of the year. It’s part of a campaign fundraising sweep in the last week as Biden aims to pull in money to fund big TV buys ahead of the end of the quarter on Dec. 31.

The fundraiser is expected to be near Penn’s Landing.

Rendell said his target goal for the fundraiser is $1 million, around what a February 2023 fundraiser in Philadelphia raised. Cohosts include Ken Jarin and Alan Kessler.

President Joe Biden is a big fan of Philadelphia.

This year alone, Biden has traveled to Philadelphia nine times. All told, he’s made at least 16 trips to the city since taking office in 2021, most recently last month for a speech at the Tioga Marine Terminal about investments in hydrogen hubs.

No other place outside of Washington, D.C., and his home state of Delaware has hosted the president more frequently over the last two years. Vice President Kamala Harris has also traveled to the city several times this year.

Here is a timeline of Biden’s trips to Philadelphia this year.