President Donald Trump reacted angrily Monday to General Motors’ plan to close several plants and cut jobs in the United States and Canada.
“They better damn well open a new plant there very quickly,” Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview. “I told them, ‘You’re playing around with the wrong person.’”
On Monday, General Motors announced plans to close plants in Detroit; Oshawa, Ontario; Warren, Ohio; White Marsh, Maryland; and Warren, Michigan, CNN reported.
The plants make sedans that have declining sales, including the Chevrolet Volt, Impala and Cruze, the Buick LaCrosse and the Cadillac CT6 and XTS. General Motors said it will no longer make those vehicles.
Although some of the plants made trucks, General Motors said its truck business will be moved to GM plants in Mexico.
Overall, the cuts announced Monday will impact 15 percent of GM’s salaried and salaried contract workforce, cutting about 14,700 jobs, NBC reported.
Three plans outside of North America will also close by the end of 2019, the company announced. A South Korean plant has already been announced as one of those sites.
The White House said Trump was briefed by CEO Mary Barra on Sunday.
Trump continued his tough talk aimed at GM in comments to the media as he was boarding Marine One at the White House, according to a White House media pool report.
“Well, we don’t like it. I believe they’ll be opening up something else. And — I was very tough. I spoke with her (Barra) when I heard they were closing. And I said, ‘You know, this country has done a lot for General Motors. You better get back in there soon. That’s Ohio, and you better get back in there soon,'” Trump said.
Trump said he is not the only one telling GM its actions are a problem.
“So we have a lot of pressure on them. You have senators, you have a lot of other people — a lot of pressure. They say the Chevy Cruze is not selling well. I say, ‘Well, then get … a car that is selling well and put it back in,”’ he said.
Trump said he expects that GM will find new uses for those factories, but wants that process to move quickly.
“So I think you’re going to see something else happen there, but I’m not happy about it. Their car is not selling well. So they’ll put something else — I have no doubt that, in a not-too-distant future, they’ll put something else. They better put something else in,” he said.
Barra framed the cuts as GM adapting to market forces that favor SUVs over sedans while looking to a future that will feature electrified and self-driving vehicles.
“We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success,” Barra said.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said that GM’s moves are not a reflection of Trump’s policies.
“There’s a record number of manufacturing jobs created on his watch,” Conway said, according to The Hill. “Manufacturing was flat on its back. It was an industry that was not prioritized by the last administration, up there with mining, construction, manufacturing, and this president has prioritized them because they are the forgotten man or forgotten woman.
“And the president doesn’t run GM,” Conway added. “He runs the country’s economy and that’s why the confidence and optimism numbers are up, the growth numbers are up, the unemployment is way down.”
Conway said the message to workers impacted is not all gloom and doom.
“The message to them is that this president has created an economy where their skill sets can thrive,” she said.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.