During his Thanksgiving teleconference with military servicemen and women, Donald Trump brought up the American auto industry, unprompted. "I have many, many companies moving back into the United States," the president claimed. "They're opening up car plants. They're opening up factories all over the country."
As is often the case with Trump's rhetoric, there was no proof to bolster his boasts. Unfortunately, four days later, there's some fresh evidence pointing in the opposite direction.
In the most far-reaching shake-up since the company emerged from bankruptcy more than eight years ago, General Motors will shutter three North American assembly plants and two other facilities, while also eliminating 15 percent of its salaried and salaried contract workforce, moves that together will cost an estimated 14,700 jobs. [...]About 5,600 jobs will be lost at the three assembly plants set to close by the end of 2019. That includes 1,500 at the Detroit-Hamtramck facility that currently produces the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, as well as the Chevrolet Impala, Cadillac CT6 and Buick LaCrosse sedan.Another 1,600 job will be cut in Lordstown, Ohio, a plant producing the slow-selling Chevrolet Cruze. The factory already saw two of its three shifts cut since early 2017 due to declining demand, with earlier cuts impacting 3,000 employees.
The news comes about a month after Ford also announced layoffs.
Though a variety of factors contribute to business decisions like these, it's worth remembering that General Motors warned in June that Donald Trump's tariffs would adversely affect the company, leading to, among other things, "less investment" and "fewer jobs."
It's a brutal day, of course, for thousands of families and their local communities, but today's news also carries a significant political punch.
After all, the president has spent the last several months assuring Americans that developments like these weren't going to happen.
In July 2017, Trump headlined an event in Ohio, where he told locals, in reference to manufacturing jobs, "They're all coming back. They're all coming back. Don't move, don't sell your house." The president's remarks were delivered about 20 minutes from the GM plant in Lordstown, where 1,600 jobs are now being slashed.
Around the same time, Trump delivered remarks in Michigan, where he said to applause, "GM announced they are adding or keeping 900 jobs right here in Michigan and that's gonna be over the next 12 months, and that's just the beginning, folks. In fact, I told them, that's peanuts! That's peanuts. We're gonna have a lot more."
A year earlier, the then-Republican candidate declared at a rally in Warren, Michigan, "If I'm elected, you won't lose one plant, you'll have plants coming into this country, you're going to have jobs again, you won't lose one plant. I promise you. I promise you."
Warren isn't far from GM's Detroit-Hamtramck facility that's poised to lose 1,500 jobs.
As recently as April 2018, the president assured Michigan residents that auto companies are expanding at a "record pace."
Under the circumstances, it would appear Trump has some explaining to do.