In a new interview with the Wall Street Journal, a publication whose only favorable pages for the President come in the conservative editorial section, Donald Trump discussed the closing of several General Motors plants in the United States, which is expected to result in the loss of nearly 15,000 jobs in a number of already hard-hit areas.
But in an ironic twist, Trump seems to have turned the entire concept of conservative oversight of business — which is to say, no oversight — on its ear, and thus far, no Republicans have called him out over it.
The President, if his description of his conversation with GM head Mary Barra is accurate, essentially threatened the automaker with some undefined consequence if they don’t reopen factories in Ohio and begin making cars that sell well. He said that in response to Barra’s assertion that much of the company’s woes come from the underperforming Chevy Cruze.
I spoke with Mary Barra, the head of General Motors last night. I said: ‘I heard you’re closing your plant. It’s not going to be closed for long, I hope, Mary, because if it is you’ve got a problem.’ So she told me: ‘The car’s not selling.’ I said, ‘so maybe you got to make a better car.'”
The WSJ interview went on to detail Trump’s blame of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat who Trump said “didn’t get the point across” to the manufacturer about the potential consequences for GM if it shuttered plants. Then he added,
But we will all together get the point across to General Motors. And they better damn well open up a new plant there very quickly.”
And while Trump is always likely to embellish his own strength of position in a sit-down interview like this, given time to craft answers to expected questions, it’s actually his responses to reporters later on during a Q&A on the White House lawn where he confirmed he had basically told the automaker there would be federal coercion to reopen factories.
Featured image via screen capture