Trump skips GOP debate to deliver 'economic nationalism' speech at non-union plant

Donald Trump
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In an effort to court blue-collar workers, former President Donald Trump traveled to Michigan on Wednesday to deliver a speech aimed at courting the support of autoworkers at a time when their largest union is on strike.

Unlike President Biden, who accepted an invitation by the United Auto Workers to join striking workers on a picket line outside Detroit on Tuesday, Trump spoke at a non-union plant in Clinton Township, but portrayed himself as a champion of union members.

Read more on Yahoo News: ‘UAW boss says Trump works for ‘billionaire class’ ahead of visit,’ from The Hill

“I side with the autoworkers of America,” Trump said. He laid out what he called his “vision of economic nationalism” before a modest crowd, many of whom held up pre-printed signs that read “Union members for Trump.”

On Tuesday, UAW President Shawn Fain blasted Trump’s planned speech at the non-union plant.

“All you have to do is look at his track record,” Fain said. “His track record speaks for itself. In 2008, during the Great Recession, he blamed UAW members, he blamed our contracts for everything that was wrong with these companies — that’s a complete lie.”

Read more on Yahoo News: ‘The automotive plant where Trump is speaking sure has some bad reviews,’ from Salon

In Wednesday’s speech, Trump’s nationalist vision consisted largely of attacks on the electric cars and trucks that the U.S. auto industry has been transitioning to across the country.

“The damn things don’t go far enough and they’re too expensive,” Trump said of EVs.

Trump also spent much of his campaign speech attacking Biden, who he portrayed as having sold out the auto industry to China.

In response to Trump’s remarks, Kevin Munoz, a spokesperson for the Biden-Harris campaign issued a statement.

“Donald Trump’s low-energy, incoherent ‘speech’ at a non-union factory in Michigan was a pathetic, recycled attempt to feign support for working Americans,” he said, adding that it was Trump “who let China get ahead in the race to the future.”

Only once during his remarks did Trump bother to mention his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, which recent polls show is all but his to claim.

“You know we’re competing with the job candidates. They are all running for a job. No, they’re all job candidates. They’ll do anything, secretary of something. They even say VP, does anybody see any VP in the group? I don’t think so,” Trump said.