Trump tweets GM should keep Lordstown
Says company should close foreign plant instead
To view the Fox News segment Sunday featuring United Auto Workers Local 1112 President Dave Green, click here.
WARREN — President Donald Trump continued his Twitter harangue Monday to try to influence General Motors to reopen its Lordstown assembly plant, this time calling on the automaker to close a foreign plant.
Trump tweeted at 4:45 a.m. that GM should, “Get that big, beautiful plant in Ohio open now. Close a plant in China or Mexico, where you invested so heavily pre-Trump, but not in the U.S.A. Bring jobs home!”
It was the second of a two-part tweet; the first part urging GM and United Auto Workers to engage in talks soon for a new contract. The agreement the sides have now expires Sept. 14.
It will be during negotiations for a new agreement, local union officials predict, the fate of the plant — whether a new vehicle will be assigned after the Cruze was eliminated from Chevrolet’s lineup — will be determined.
Trump tweeted at 4:37 a.m. “General Motors and the UAW are going to start ‘talks’ in September/October. Why wait, start them now! I want jobs to stay in the U.S.A. and want Lordstown (Ohio), in one of the best economies in our history, opened or sold to a company who will open it up fast! Car companies…..”
The president went to his favorite social media platform just after 2 p.m. Saturday to urge GM to reopen the Lordstown plant “maybe in a different form or with a new owner, FAST!” He noted Toyota is investing billions in the U.S. and “G.M. MUST ACT QUICKLY.”
Dave Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112 at the Lordstown plant, appeared Sunday on Fox News to discuss Trump’s tweet and the auto plant that idled March 6.
He was asked if 1112 members who supported Trump have given up on his hopes and promises or if they sticking with him despite losing their jobs. Trump had collected 51 percent of Trumbull County’s votes in the November 2016 presidential race, marking the first time in decades the heavily Democratic county supported a Republican presidential candidate. Trump’s closest challenger was Democrat Hillary Clinton, who collected about 44 percent of Trumbull County votes.
Also included in the five-minute Fox News segment Sunday was video of Trump’s visit in July 2017 to Youngstown where he told supporters “don’t sell your house” because manufacturing jobs would return.
“You know I think that’s really just a matter of opinion,” Green said. “Some folks I know have switched gears and thought when he came here and said all these great things, they were on board with that. The fact that we’ve seen our Kmart distribution center in Warren close, a hospital close out here, all these brick-and-mortar businesses are closing and now unallocated status at Lordstown, which will affect, really, thousands of jobs in the supplier base around it. People are starting to wake up …”
Trump on Sunday tweeted, “Democrat UAW Local 1112 President David Green ought to get his act together and produce. G.M. let our Country down, but other much better car companies are coming into the U.S. in droves. I want action on Lordstown fast. Stop complaining and get the job done! 3.8% Unemployment!”
He later tweeted he spoke with GM CEO Mary Barra.
“I am not happy that it is closed when everything else in our Country is BOOMING. I asked her to sell it or do something quickly. She blamed the UAW Union — I don’t care, I just want it open!”
U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, D-Howland, said he doesn’t have insight into the conversation between Trump and Barra, but having spoken with Barra before, doesn’t think Barra would blame the union.
“It’s the normal Trump playbook,” Ryan said Monday. “He’s distracted doing other things. He has not been engaged in the least bit in General Motors. He sees Dave on TV, feels insecure about it and tries to distract everybody and take a shot at him.
“I don’t think anybody is saying that the president of the United States can wave some magic wand and make all of our problems go away, but he has to be engaged and he’s not, and he’s not even responding to letters from Dave … he’s just not engaged, then he has to find somebody to bully and pick on.”
Drive It Home Ohio, the local grassroots efforts to convince GM to assign a new vehicle to the plant and reinvest in the workforce, responded to the president’s Monday tweets.
“We agree with President Trump’s comment. GM should bring another product back here so we can deliver a quality vehicle for them once again with three full shifts here at their Lordstown facility,” said co-chairman James Dignan, president and CEO of the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber.
Said Green, “Our folks are hard working, dedicated, dependable and loyal and we’re ready to go back to work with General Motors to make the cars and trucks for the future. As far as talks go, that is up to our International UAW and General Motors. We want to work. We are ready to build a new product.”