President Donald Trump stepped up his pressure Monday on General Motors' CEO Mary Barra to reopen an Ohio manufacturing plant that recently closed and put 1,700 people out of work.
Trump's arm-twisting came in a series of tweets aimed at GM and the United Auto Workers union that stretched across Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
'General Motors and the UAW are going to start "talks" in September/October. Why wait, start them now!' the president tweeted Monday in his latest salvo on the Lordstown plant, which had manufactured the Chevrolet Cruze.
'Get that big, beautiful plant in Ohio open now. Close a plant in China or Mexico, where you invested so heavily pre-Trump, but not in the U.S.A. Bring jobs home!' he wrote.
GM had said Sunday evening 'to be clear' that it was talking to the UAW, a tone which may have prompted the Monday tweet.
Ohio will be a crucial battlefield in Trump's 2020 re-election fight: Saving 1,700 jobs there would be a major feather in the president's cap, but losing them would give Democrats much-needed ammunition in the American midwest.
Trump capped his weekend of ranting with a tweet disclosing that he had vented his frustrations during a conversation with Barra.
President Trump (left) slammed General Motors and its CEO Mary Barra (right) on Sunday over the closure of a manufacturing plant in Lordstown, Ohio; On Monday he tweeted that GM should close a plant in China or Mexico to reopen the Ohio facility
'I am not happy that it is closed when everything else in our Country is BOOMING,' Trump wrote.
'I asked her to sell it or do something quickly. She blamed the UAW Union — I don't care, I just want it open!'
The union is the United Automobile Workers, which represents the employees who lost their jobs in the Lordstown closure.
Trump had previously told a UAW leader, David Green, to 'get his act together and produce' for the Lordstown workers. Green didn't respond to a request for comment.
In a Fox News Channel interview Monday morning, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway siad Trump is frustrated with the negotiation timetable that's unfolding in slow motion as Ohioans lose their jobs.
'In the president's mind, it's March. You're scheduling a meeting for October. And in the meantime jobs are going to keep seeping out of the country like they did in past administrations,' she said.
'He wants them to come to the table before that. ... When you tell a businessman, a non-politician, "We're going to meet seven months from now," he's just saying, "Can we accelerate and have the meeting sometime faster?"'
Share impacted? GM's stock price was down slightly on Monday but that was in line with a month-long downward trend
Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway said Monday on the Fox News Channel that Trump wants GM and union leaders to meet soon enough to save the Ohio jobs
GM Lordstown workers rallied outside the plant on March 6 as they prepared to stand down after the plant produced cars and other vehicles for 50 years
'I am not happy that it is closed when everything else in our Country is BOOMING,' Trump tweeted on Sunday. 'I asked her to sell it or do something quickly. She blamed the UAW Union - I don't care, I just want it open!'
Trump had previously told a UAW leader, David Green, to 'get his act together and produce' for the Lordstown workers
WHAT GM SAID AFTER CEO'S CALL WITH TRUMP
To be clear, under the terms of the UAW-GM National Agreement, the ultimate future of the unallocated plants will be resolved between GM and the UAW.
We remain open to talking with all affected stakeholders, but our main focus remains on our employees and offering them jobs in our plants where we have growth opportunities.
We have now placed over 1,000 employees from our unallocated plants to other GM locations, and we have opportunities available for virtually all impacted employees.
General Motors said in a statement released Sunday evening that the future of plants scheduled to be closed 'will be resolved between GM and the UAW.'
The automaker also says that it has 'opportunities available for virtually all impacted employees' at plants that are to be shuttered.
'We remain open to talking with all the affected stakeholders, but our main focus remains on our employees and offering them jobs in our plants where we have growth opportunities,' the company said.
Even as he said he talked to Barra, Trump was calling on GM to reopen its Lordstown plant or find another owner, while insisting that the Detroit automaker 'must act quickly.'
He also blasted GM for letting down the U.S. and asserted 'much better' automakers are coming to the country.
Trump praised Toyota for its investments in the U.S. in an apparent attempt to depict GM as being less committed to its home country than the Japan automaker.
The Lordstown closure has become a hot-button issue in an area of Ohio that is expected to be critical for Trump if he seeks re-election as promised in 2020.
Trump prevailed in Ohio in the 2016 election, a win that helped him win enough electoral votes to become president despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.
That may be one reason why Trump joined a coalition of Ohio lawmakers in efforts to get the Lordstown plant running again.
GM's share price was down slightly on Monday but that was in line with falls which have hit it for the last four weeks, suggesting the markets were paying little attention to the Trump-Barra conflict.
The tweets marked some of his most pointed criticism of GM so far.
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