Former President Donald J. Trump is already preparing for a potential rematch with President Biden, focusing his attention on the labor dispute between autoworkers and leading auto manufacturers. While skipping the upcoming Republican primary debate, Trump intends to travel to Detroit to address over 500 workers, including current and former union members.
Trump’s decision to go to Michigan shortly after the United Auto Workers went on strike highlights his desire to move past his primary rivals and focus on the possibility of challenging Biden once again. His campaign plans to fill the room with various workers, such as plumbers, pipe-fitters, electricians, and autoworkers.
Although Trump has not directly addressed the wage demands of striking workers, he has attempted to position himself as an advocate for autoworkers. The campaign even considers the possibility of Trump making an appearance at the picket line, although logistical challenges may make this unlikely due to his security protections.
In the 2016 campaign, Trump’s team sought to establish connections with organized labor in Michigan and Wisconsin, recognizing the significance of these areas in the general election. While most union leaders have remained hostile to Trump, he has consistently appealed to rank-and-file union workers.
Michigan, which Trump won in 2016, played a crucial role in his victory. However, Biden secured the state in 2020 by a significant margin, making it a critical battleground for Democrats in the upcoming 2024 election.
To reinforce Trump’s alignment with autoworkers, his campaign has produced a radio ad that will air in Detroit and Toledo. The ad targets union workers and men and emphasizes Trump’s support for fair competition and workers’ share of the American dream.
While the ad does not explicitly reference the current strike, it criticizes the Biden administration’s backing of the transition to electric vehicles, which Trump refers to as an “Electric Car SCAM.” Biden has expressed support for the striking workers, sending top aides and affirming that they deserve a fair share of the benefits they helped create.
As the labor dispute continues, the United Auto Workers chose not to endorse Biden this spring. The union’s president, Shawn Fain, cited concerns about the impact of the transition to electric vehicles on labor. Despite this, Fain views a potential return of Trump to the White House as a “disaster.”
In response to Trump’s plans in Detroit, Fain emphasized the union’s commitment to fighting against the billionaires and an economy that prioritizes their interests over workers. He spoke out against electing billionaires and millionaires who do not understand the struggles of the working class.
– The New York Times