General Motors has become a hot-button for politicians after announcing multiple plant closures yesterday. One of the more vocal political jurisdictions has been Ohio, where GM is idling its massive Lordstown assembly plant.
The political fallout started with President Donald Trump, who reportedly talked with GM CEO Mary Barra on the phone regarding the Ohio plant. According to transcripts of the conversation, Trump told Barra GM should just build cars people want to buy at the Lordstown assembly plant.
“Well, we don’t like it. I believe they’ll be opening up something else. And — I was very tough. I spoke with her 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 stated during a press conference on Monday.
Located in Trumbull County, the Lordstown complex likely played a meaningful role in swinging Ohio to Trump’s favor during the 2016 presidential election. So the President’s focus on the Lordstown plant closure comes as little surprise. Politically speaking, this closure will likely have an impact on the 2020 presidential race in a notorious swing state.
Trump isn’t the only politician upset. Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio took to Twitter to voice is displeasure with GM’s announcement. Ryan took it a step further in accusing President Trump of not doing enough to retain the factory in his state.
Today our generation is facing a new Black Monday in the Mahoning Valley. GM’s announcement is devastating for the men and women working at Lordstown and everyone here in the Mahoning Valley. (1/8) https://t.co/uxoF8XrMo1
— Congressman Tim Ryan (@RepTimRyan) November 26, 2018
Senator Sherrod Brown echoed Ryan’s sentiments, alleging President Trump has not done enough for the Lordstown workers. Brown’s office released the following statement.
“The workers at Lordstown are the best at what they do, and it’s clear once again that GM doesn’t respect them. Ohio taxpayers rescued GM, and it’s shameful that the company is now abandoning the Mahoning Valley and laying off workers right before the holidays. Even worse, the company reaped a massive tax break from last year’s GOP tax bill and failed to invest that money in American jobs, choosing to build its Blazer in Mexico,” said Brown. “GM owes the community answers on how the rest of the supply chain will be impacted and what consequences its disastrous decision will have on the Mahoning Valley and our state. My office stands ready to do everything we can to help these workers. This decision is corporate greed at its worst.”
Ohio’s Republican senator Rob Portman, unsurprisingly, kept is criticism exclusive to GM and left the president out of the statement released by his office.
“I am deeply frustrated with General Motors’ decision to shut down its Lordstown plant and disappointed with how the hardworking employees there have been treated throughout this process. During frank conversations with GM CEO Mary Barra after the announcement that GM cut a shift at the plant due to the weakening market for the Chevy Cruze, I urged her to look to the Lordstown plant for production of other vehicles and to make a public commitment to the plant and its workforce.”
While politicians in the other states and Ontario are also voicing frustrations with GM over yesterday massive restructuring announcement, Ohio is clearly the political football for both sides of the isle. Assuming politicians are unable to change GM’s mind, the Lordstown, Ohio plant will shut down in March 2019 when production of the Chevrolet Cruze ends.