August 10, 2022

The CEO of General Motors just responded to Trump’s threat with an epic burn

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After President Trump tweeted out his insistent demands to General Motors to reopen their recently shuttered plant in Lordstown, Ohio — more to protect his own reputation than out of concern for the laid-off workers — GM’s CEO Mary Barra has curtly replied by saying that the plant’s future will be decided by GM and United Auto Workers union, not by the president.


Trump started his vocal campaign to try to intimidate the motor vehicle manufacturer with this tweet on Saturday that implied he had set his own deadline for action by GM to restore the Ohio jobs.

Whether the impetus to “ACT QUICKLY” comes from a sense that Trump thinks that the economy won’t be “so good” for much longer or simply because he needs good news before the 2020 election campaign begins in earnest is unclear from the president’s tweets.

He followed up his first tweet with a public revelation yesterday of his subsequent conversation with Barra that threw her under the bus by accusing her of blaming the union for the plant’s demise.

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Ever conscious that his poll numbers have never risen above the minority of the country that approves of his performance and that they only remain that high because of low unemployment numbers, Trump sent another series of tweets this morning again urging an acceleration of the decision making between GM and the UAW to better fit his own agenda at a time when both the blue-collar workers in the Rust Belt and the nation’s rural farmers face a financial crisis created by his own tariff policies.

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GM decided to stop production of the Chevy Cruze, the only model that was manufactured at Lordstown, because of the lack of demand for small sedans in the U.S. market. Along with other automakers, GM had already moved most of its production of smaller vehicles to overseas plants to take advantage of lower labor and healthcare costs.

The Lordstown plant was the one exception to the rule due to UAW concessions made a decade ago to maintain domestic jobs under a less generous contract than that which other GM plants operated. The closing of the plant — which has been cranking out vehicles for 50 years — means the elimination of 1,700 auto worker jobs.

Today, GM issued a statement in reply to the anxious president’s entreaties.

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“To be clear, under the terms of the UAW-GM National Agreement, the ultimate future of the unallocated plants will be resolved between GM and the UAW. We remain open to talking with all affected stakeholders, but our main focus remains on our employees and offering them jobs in our plants where we have growth opportunities. We have now placed over 1,000 employees from our unallocated plants to other GM locations, and we have opportunities available for virtually all impacted employees.”

With GM’s contract with the UAW due to be renegotiated later this year, the plant closing could be a potent leverage tool for the automaker in its negotiations with the union.

With Trump’s term expiring soon as well, he is doing everything he can to maintain his standing in a swing state that he carried over Hillary Clinton by over eight points in 2016. Many of the workers in Lordstown may have voted for Trump precisely because of his promises to keep and expand manufacturing jobs domestically.

After proof that his promises were as empty as his soul, Ohio workers may not fall for the same lies twice and that has Trump more terrified about that than anything besides the Mueller investigation.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter

Original reporting by David Kiley at Forbes.

Vinnie Longobardo

is the Managing Editor of Washington Press and a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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