by Katie Heid
Say what you will about former President Donald Trump, but he has a knack for ruffling the feathers of the elite while hob-knobbing with the regular folk and making connections.
While the Democrat Party likes to tout itself as the sole savior of the blue-collar worker, it’s the former president who is planning to speak to the rank-and-file in Detroit at an event next week. In fact, Trump plans to skip the second GOP presidential debate on September 27 to do so.
Despite talking a big game about wanting to be “the most pro-union president in the U.S.” President Joe Biden has not personally visited any of the striking sites in Michigan, Ohio, or Missouri. He announced he would send two members of his administration but both the UAW and Biden agreed they’d chat over Zoom instead.
However, UAW President Shawn Fain, who is pushing 32-hour-work weeks and more pay for General Motors, Stellantis, and Ford workers, did not mince words when it came to the former president.
“Every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers,” Fain said. “We can’t keep electing millionaires and billionaires that don’t have any understanding what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to get by and expecting them to solve the problems of the working class.”
Trump has not held back about UAW leadership either. In a television interview, he threw his support behind workers while criticizing those at the top. “They are being sold down the river by their leadership,” Trump said.
Meanwhile, the Michigan Democrat Party appeared annoyed by Trump’s impending visit, sending an email to supporters encouraging them to be on a press call to “slam Trump’s anti-worker record ahead of trip to Michigan.”
Reps. Debbie Dingell and Haley Stevens were the headliners of the call.
“I was there at the end of 2008 into 2009. President Trump made it clear that he would not have stepped in to help these [auto] companies and to help these workers,” said Rep. Haley Stevens, referencing the billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts to those companies from the Obama administration.
Dingell echoed similar talking points. “Trump was one of the most anti-worker presidents this country ever had,” she said.
Those comments don’t come in a vacuum. Michigan went blue up and down the ballot in November, including both chambers in the Legislature. Despite that, Michigan is still considered a “swing state” for 2024 with its 15 electoral college votes up for grabs. Trump won Michigan’s electoral college points in 2016, while Biden reclaimed them in 2020.
“Trump scooped us, a national Democratic strategist told Politico. “Now if [the Democrats] announce we’re going, it looks like we’re just going because of Trump. We waited too long. That’s the challenge.”
Roughly 13,000 workers are on strike currently at plants in three states, including Ford’s Michigan Assembly in Wayne. UAW leadership said if significant progress is not made in contract talks by noon on Friday, more workers will walk out.
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Katie anchors weekday newscasts for Michigan News Source from noon until 7 p.m.
Background Photo “UAW Workers on Strike” by UAW International Union.