Former President Donald Trump will travel to the battleground state of Michigan next week to meet with striking autoworkers instead of attending the second Republican presidential debate, a person familiar with his plans said Monday.
Trump, who also skipped the first debate last month, has signaled he is already focused on the 2024 election against President Joe Biden as he maintains a wide lead against his GOP rivals in the primary elections. Is. In recent days, he has been leaning strongly into the strike, portraying himself as sympathetic to workers and accusing Biden of trying to destroy the car industry by expanding electric cars and other green energy policies. Are making allegations.
The Sept. 27 visit, first reported by The New York Times, will also include a primetime speech, according to a person familiar with the plans, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity before it went public.
That’s the date when the rest of the GOP field will gather at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, for the second primary debate of the cycle.
When his fellow GOP contenders gathered in Milwaukee last month, Trump instead participated in a pre-taped interview with Tucker Carlson, who appeared on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, during the first hour of the debate. Was, was broadcast on.
Trump has long tried to portray himself as a fighter for the “forgotten men and women” of the working class and spent much of his 2016 campaign focusing on Rust Belt towns suffering from the move away from mining and manufacturing. Spent in campaigning. Earlier this year, he visited East Palestine, Ohio, after a train derailment. His tour aides consider a key moment in his campaign as he works to recover from midterm losses, and he Tried to divert my attention away from the losses of 2020.
Ammar Moussa, a Biden campaign spokesman, said Monday: “Donald Trump is going to Michigan next week to lie to Michigan workers and pretend he didn’t spend his entire failed presidency selling out to them at every turn. Instead of standing with workers, Trump cut taxes for the ultra-rich while auto companies closed their doors and shipped American jobs overseas. Moussa argued that Trump would have allowed auto companies to go bankrupt rather than bailing them out of the financial crisis, as President Barack Obama did in 2009.
On Monday, the United Auto Workers and Detroit’s Big Three carmakers resumed talks aimed at ending a strike that began last week. Stellantis described the discussions as “constructive”. A General Motors spokesman said negotiations were continuing between the company and representatives of the United Auto Workers.
UAW President Sean Fain, who previously said Trump becoming a second president would be a “disaster”, appeared to argue against Trump’s efforts.
“Every fiber of our union is being deployed to fight the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers,” Fain said in a statement released Tuesday. I have no understanding of what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to make ends meet and expect them to solve the problems of the working class.”
Dave Green, regional director of the UAW in Ohio and Indiana, said the former president’s actions while in office now give him “zero credibility” with organized labor, adding that he does not think the UAW will ever endorse Trump. .
“His only intention here is to try to get votes for himself. And also using political rhetoric to divide our members against each other,” Green told the AP on Monday.
Earlier this summer Trump traveled to Michigan, where the Oakland County GOP honored him as its Man of the Decade. Asked about the strike in an interview broadcast Sunday, he told NBC News that “auto workers will have no jobs” because “electric cars, automatically, are going to be made in China.”
“Auto workers are being sold out by their leadership and their leadership should support Trump,” he said.
Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Joey Cappelletti contributed to this report.
Meg Kinnard, The Associated Press