President Donald Trump on Wednesday claimed that he ended "the assault on the American auto industry," though the actions of President Barack Obama's administration are widely understood to have saved the industry."The assault on the American auto industry, believe me, is over. It's over. Not going to have it anymore," Trump said in a speech at the American Center for Mobility near Ypsilanti, Michigan. "I kept my word." Trump said that he has "followed through on his promise, and by the way many other promises."
One of President Obama's most important economic successes was rescuing the American auto industry from collapse. It makes remarks like these, reported by TPM, that much more ridiculous.
The Republican president assured his audience that he'd help improve auto production through a new "task force" that would look for possible regulations to eliminate. Evidently, that includes Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards, which in Trump's mind, represents an "assault."Even by this president's standards, today's boasts in Michigan were pretty odd. For example, for all the talk about Trump "keeping his word," he didn't actually do anything today in terms of substantive changes. As the Associated Press reported, today's move, which has no immediate effect, requires the EPA "to determine no later than April 2018 whether the 2022-2025 standards established are appropriate. If the EPA determines they are not appropriate, the agency will submit a new proposal next year."The idea that fuel-efficiency standards represent some kind of industry-crushing burden is strange enough, but even if one were to accept the premise, the Obama-era policy still exists. It's not "over."But even more laughable is the idea that the American auto industry was suffering during Obama's presidency.As regular readers know, U.S. automakers have thrived in recent years, thanks in large part to the Obama administration successfully saving the industry.Remember, in 2009, the American auto industry was on the verge of collapse. At the time, the Great Recession was already ravaging the economy and the jobs crisis was intensifying, and without an effective plan, hundreds of thousands of Americans – employees of storied American companies – were headed for the unemployment line.
The Obama White House took a gamble on an unpopular plan, which fortunately worked like a charm. This not only belongs among the Democratic president's most notable accomplishments, it also represents one of the Republicans’ most obvious failures. GOP leaders were absolutely certain the White House policy would fail miserably, and they were hilariously wrong.Trump, by the way, was asked during the campaign about his position on Obama’s industry rescue. His answer meandered incoherently for a while, suggesting he didn’t know anything about the substance of the policy, and hadn’t bothered to read up on it in advance of a campaign swing through Michigan.If today's remarks were any indication, Trump still doesn't know what he's talking about.