Former President Donald Trump has decided to skip the second Republican presidential debate to show solidarity with the striking autoworkers in Michigan, signaling his focus on the 2024 election against current President Joe Biden. Trump, who also missed the first debate, is set to visit Michigan on September 27, the same day as the GOP debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Instead of participating in the debate, he plans to deliver a prime time speech in Michigan.
Trump has been expressing his support for the workers, portraying himself as a champion for the working class, especially in the Rust Belt regions. He has criticized Biden's green energy policies, alleging that they are detrimental to the car industry. Earlier this year, he visited East Palestine, Ohio, following a train derailment, which his aides consider a key moment in his campaign.
Reactions to Trump's Upcoming Visit
Biden's campaign spokesperson, Ammar Moussa, criticized Trump's upcoming visit, accusing him of lying to Michigan workers and asserting that Trump had failed them during his presidency. Moussa also suggested that Trump would have allowed auto companies to go bankrupt during the financial crisis, unlike President Obama who bailed them out in 2009.
The United Auto Workers and Detroit's Big Three carmakers are currently negotiating to end a strike now in its fourth day. Dave Green, a UAW regional director in Ohio and Indiana, questioned Trump's credibility with organized labor due to his actions while in office. Green implied that Trump's intention was not to genuinely support the workers but to earn votes.
Trump's Earlier Visit and Views on Electric Cars
Earlier this summer, Trump visited Michigan where he was honored as the Oakland County GOP's Man of the Decade. He warned that the shift towards electric cars, which he believes will be made in China, would cost auto workers their jobs. He accused auto workers' leadership of betraying them and suggested they should endorse him.