Cafaro: Trump should have made a stop in Lordstown

Ex-senator on Fox News site

Click here for Capri Cafaro’s column

WARREN — Fox News opinion columnist and frequent television commentator, former Ohio Sen. Capri Cafaro, wasn’t being cheeky when she invited President Donald Trump in her column to “come and look people in our community in the eye.”

It was more along the line of, if Trump read her column on Fox News’ website, “we need his help” in Lordstown to get people working again at the General Motors plant, Cafaro said.

“The fact he was in Ohio and didn’t come to Lordstown I think was not a good move, but moving past that at this point, because I was holding out hope he would have an unscheduled visit, but since that didn’t occur, he still will decide to come and sit down, sit down with Dave Green (United Auto Workers Local 1112 president) and maybe even go so far as to invite Dave Green and leaders of the UAW, Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, have them come to Washington to sit down and actually discuss what can happen next,” Cafaro said.

Trump on Wednesday was in Lima to tour a tank plant there and made remarks, which included the Lordstown assembly plant, and then attended a high-dollar fundraiser for his re-election campaign in Canton.

The stops happened just days after Trump went to Twitter on Saturday to persuade GM to reopen the plant, but degraded Sunday to criticism of Green. Tweets on Monday were back to urging GM to reopen the plant and also pressuring the UAW and automaker to start negotiating a new contract sooner than later.

Their agreement now expires Sept. 14, and it is widely believed the fate of the plant will be determined during those talks.

Trump’s not stopping in Lordstown is “bad optics and therefore, bad politics,” said Cafaro, who added the contrast of his attending an event that raised millions of dollars for his campaign with Lordstown workers now out of a job locally, she said she assumed “will be perceived as a slap in the face by the people in the valley.”

Donors paid $2,800 to attend. To have dinner with the president, the cost was $50,000 or $70,000 for couples.

Cafaro’s column was posted to Fox News’ website Thursday. It is her regular Thursday column.

Cafaro wrote it was “no surprise” voters in the Mahoning Valley supported Trump in 2016 because they believed he would fight to keep jobs, like the ones at the GM plant, in the U.S.

But what was surprising was his “half-hearted” response to the announcement in November the plant would be idled. Trump “offered some tough talk, taking swipes” at Barra and demanding a new product, and over the weekend “fired off a number of tweets about the fate of the Lordstown plant, blaming everyone from GM’s corporate leadership to the local head of the United Auto Workers union,” Cafaro wrote.

She praised Local 1112 and the former UAW Local 1714 for taking concessions to keep the plant open and Green, too, who “did not take the bait and respond in kind to Trump’s attack on him.”

“Green recognizes that it is more productive to find common ground and engage the president to help our area than to stir the pot,” she wrote.

She also addressed what may fall out politically for Trump, who she wrote needs support from local voters to hold onto the White House.

“But they can also be the key to a Democratic victory should the party nominate a candidate who can win them back,” Cafaro wrote.

Presidential hopeful, former Democratic U.S. representative from Texas, Beto O’Rourke, swung by the UAW hall earlier this week to speak with Green and show his support.

“Yes, this is likely a campaign stunt,” Cafaro wrote. “But if President Trump does not do something tangible to show the Lordstown community he is serious about fighting for local jobs he runs the risk of losing support in 2020 to someone who is at least pretending to care.”

Trump won Trumbull County in 2016, the first time in decades voters supported a Republican presidential candidate and he narrowly lost to Hillary Clinton in Mahoning County, another Democratic stronghold.