President Donald Trump on Monday expressed public disappointment with moves by General Motors to shutter automobile production plants in Ohio and Michigan, telling the CEO of GM that the automaker must find a way to bring back jobs to the region, as Democrats denounced the move as ‘corporate greed at its worst.’
“We don’t like it,” the President told reporters, saying he was ‘very tough’ with GM CEO Mary Barra in a phone conversation about the plant closing decisions.
“I said, this country has done a lot for General Motors, you better get back in there very soon,” Mr. Trump recounted. “The United States saved General Motors,” seemingly referring to the controversial auto bailout set in motion by President Bush, and then overseen by President Obama.
“They say the Chevy Cruze is not selling well; I say well then get a car that is selling well and put it back in,” the President added.
“They better put something else in,” Mr. Trump said in a frustrated tone.
Making the move doubly aggravating for the President is the fact that he routinely mentions General Motors when making the case that his economic policies – and a GOP-led tax cut – has spurred new economic growth, and a return of jobs to the United States from abroad.
“Thousands of new jobs are being re-shored back to America – including jobs at Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Sprint, Intel and so many more,” the President said in an op-ed in the Washington Post in April of 2018.
“General Motors – they’re coming back. A lot of companies are coming back, and they’re coming back to areas that you represent,” the President told lawmakers at a February 2018 meeting at the White House. “It’s a good feeling. That’s a really good feeling.”
“General Motors is coming back into Detroit. That is a really significant statement,” the President said at the same meeting.
But today’s closures brought a much different message in the Motor City.
In northeastern Ohio – which flipped to President Trump in 2016 – Democrats eagerly reminded the President of what he said in April of this year during a visit to the area, when he said the economic fortunes of the region were only going up.
“I implore President Trump to keep his word when he came to the Mahoning Valley last year and promised jobs were ‘all coming back. They’re all coming back. Don’t move. Don’t sell your house,'” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) tweeted, reminding people that the President said GM would be expanding – not closing down plants.
“President Trump has been asleep at the switch and owes this community an explanation,” said Ryan.
“Ohio taxpayers rescued GM, and it’s shameful that the company is now abandoning the Mahoning Valley and laying off workers right before the holidays,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who labeled the decision, “corporate greed at its worst.”
“The tax cuts aren’t working, folks,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), as Democrats stepped up their criticism that the GOP tax cut plan had benefited the wealthy, and not created new jobs for working class voters, many of whom voted for the President.
“The tax cuts are not working,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI). “The trade war is not working.”