Trump to GM's Mary Barra: 'Do something quickly' on Lordstown
Washington – President Donald Trump stepped up his pressure on General Motors to reopen an Ohio manufacturing plant that recently closed in a series of tweets on Sunday.
Trump tweeted that GM had “let our Country down” by closing its Lordstown plant in politically important Ohio. The closure left 1,700 hourly workers jobless.
United Auto Workers officials say they remain hopeful GM will bring a new vehicle line to the massive plant outside Youngstown.
Sunday evening Trump tweeted that he had just spoken with General Motors CEO Mary Barra about the Lordstown plant and he was "not happy that it is closed when everything else in our Country is BOOMING. I asked her to sell it or do something quickly."
GM responded to Trump's tweets with a statement saying that "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."
Trump tweeted earlier Sunday that the UAW’s local president “ought to get his act together and produce, adding ”I want action on Lordstown fast.”
UAW 1112 President Dave Green responded to Trump's tweet in a statement, saying, "We're doing everything we can with the Drive it Home Ohio campaign to convince General Motors CEO Mary Barra to reinvest in GM Lordstown. As Mary Barra has said, GM plans to discuss our fate with the UAW in the fall and we are focussed on getting a new product in Lordstown."
Green continued, "Folks here in the Mahoning Valley are True Blue, hard working, loyal, dedicated and ready to help General Motors and this country build the cars and trucks of the future."
Trump praised Toyota for its investments in the U.S. in an apparent attempt to depict GM as being less committed to its home country than the Japan automaker.
GM didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Sunday.
The Lordstown closure has become a hot-button issue in an area of Ohio that is expected to be critical for Trump if he seeks re-election as promised in 2020.
Trump prevailed in Ohio in the 2016 election, a win that helped him win enough electoral votes to become president despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.
That may be one reason why Trump joined a coalition of Ohio lawmakers in efforts to get the Lordstown plant running again. The tweets marked some of his most pointed criticism of GM so far.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, last week expressed doubts GM will reopen its Lordstown plant, but said the automaker indicated it’s in talks with another company about using the site.
More than 16 million vehicles were made at the Lordstown plant during its 53-year history until GM closed it earlier this month as part of a massive reorganization. The company also intends to close four other North American plants by early next year.
The Detroit News contributed