In case you missed it… Donald Trump’s broken promise to the people of the Mahoning Valley — that their jobs were “all coming back” — is front and center as the tentative deal reached between General Motors and the United Auto Workers will not reopen the GM plant in Lordstown.
Bloomberg writes that GM’s decision to sell the Lordstown plant is “all but cementing the facility’s status as a political liability for President Donald Trump.”
In 2017, Trump went to Youngstown, 15 miles down the road from the Lordstown plant, and promised residents that manufacturing jobs would be returning to the region, telling the crowd: “Don’t move. Don’t sell your house.”
GM worker Ernie Long heard that speech while he was still at the Lordstown plant.
“He said don’t sell your house, and look, now I got to sell my house that I just built three years ago,” said Long, who was at the plant for 11 years.
Voters in industrial northeast Ohio have not forgotten a particular promise President Donald Trump made when he visited the region soon after taking office. Manufacturing jobs are “all coming back,” Trump said. “Don’t move. Don’t sell your house.”
“He lied,” said Trish Amato, who worked at a General Motors plant in the area that stopped production earlier this year. “He told everybody it’s all coming back,” said Amato. “It’s not. It’s harder and harder to find a job.”
Amato, who voted for Trump in 2016 but is having misgivings about supporting him next year, is one of hundreds of workers at the Lordstown plant who lost their jobs, and in many cases sold their homes and left the region, since Trump’s speech in Youngstown in mid-2017.
Trump’s economic promises helped him carry Ohio in 2016, and the economy will be a major factor in next year’s presidential race. But as voters in this critical swing state state turn their attention to the 2020 election, many say they’re increasingly frustrated with Trump’s record on economic issues, including his trade policy and attacks on organized labor.
Timothy O’Hara, who took over as president of Local 1112 after the former union president Trump attacked relocated to a GM plant in Kentucky, said the union remains in the dark about the company’s plans for the Lordstown site. He also dismissed the company’s public argument that it shuttered the plant because consumer demand for small cars has declined.
O’Hara and other union officials blamed the Trump administration for rolling back the fuel efficiency standards put in place by President Barack Obama as part of his push to reduce carbon emissions. O’Hara argued that the decision to end the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency standards, known as CAFE, incentivized General Motors to stop making the Cruze, which is more fuel efficient than GM’s larger cars.
“That totally went against us in Lordstown,” O’Hara said. When unions face off with the Trump administration, he added, “it seems everything they do is something that favors business.”
Back in Lordstown, O’Hara said the auto union believes about 40 percent of its rank-and-file members voted for Trump in 2016, twice the typical number for a Republican presidential candidate.
After everything the union has gone through, O’Hara said he would be surprised if Trump gets the same level of support in 2020, assuming he survives the House impeachment inquiry and is on the ballot for reelection. “Some of the people who supported him in 2016 are having second thoughts,” O’Hara said.