President Trump’s rust-belt supporters must be developing a serious case of buyer’s remorse after voting for a man who promised to revive America’s crumbling infrastructure and maintain existing and create new manufacturing jobs in the nation’s industrial heartland.
Once Trump was in office they discovered they’d been conned as his vaunted deal with Carrier to save a thousand jobs at a plant in Indiana scheduled for closure in exchange for $7 million dollars worth of tax incentives and training grants led to the company pocketing the incentives while laying off a sizeable number of employees nonetheless.
Trump’s tariff policies and his trade war with the rest of the world has resulted in cost and supply problems that have inspired companies like the quintessentially American Harley Davidson to shift production overseas.
Today’s announcement from General Motors that they will be shutting down production at four U.S. factories and cut thousands of jobs further erodes Trump’s campaign rhetoric painting him as the only person who could restore American manufacturing and prevent the export of jobs to cheaper overseas labor.
Trump’s response was all bluster and no action as he criticized and threatened GM CEO Mary Barra for her decision.
“I spoke with her when I heard they were closing and I said, you know, this country has done a lot for General Motors. They better get back to Ohio and soon,” the president told reporters at the White House.
Saying he was “very tough” on a call with the GM CEO, Trump promised to put “a lot of pressure” on the company to reopen the plants.
“I have no doubt that in a not too distant future they’ll put something else. They better put something else in,” the president said menacingly.
Trump reinforced his tough talk in an interview with The Wall Street Journal where he said he asked Barra to stop production of cars in China and reiterated his bellicose demands for a swift reopening of the shuttered factories, saying that they “better damn well open a new plant there very quickly.”
“I love Ohio,” the president said, according to The Journal. “I told them, ‘you’re playing around with the wrong person.’ ”
Most people realize that Trump is indeed the wrong person since his failure to deliver any significant financial benefits to the swing state voters who put him over the top in the electoral college, if not the popular vote, will surely hurt any fantasies he may hold about being reelected.
Trump’s angry words may play well as Fox News soundbites, but after the president’s portrayal of himself as the savior of blue collar jobs in America, the GM factory closures are leading people to finally begin to wake up to the fact that our wanna-be emperor has no clothes whatsoever.
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Original reporting by Neal E. Boudette and Ian Austen at the NY Times and Mike Colias and Bob Davis at The Wall Street Journal.