Trump blasts GM for Ohio plant closure, urges reopening

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump stepped up his pressure on General Motors to reopen an Ohio manufacturing plant that recently closed and put 1,700 people out of work.

Trump's arm-twisting came in two separate tweets on Saturday and Sunday .

He called on GM to reopen its Lordstown plant or find another owner, while insisting that the Detroit automaker "must act quickly."

He also blasted GM for letting down the U.S. and asserted "much better" automakers are coming to the country.

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.

Trump has skewered several other U.S. companies for not doing more to help their country's economy, but his remarks so far have been more bark than bite.

For instance, he has publicly called upon Apple to shift most of its manufacturing from China to the U.S., but the Silicon Valley company continues to make its iPhones and most other products overseas.

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.

 

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