Ohio Senators speak up in wake of GM plant closings

"The U.S. got hit harder than we did", said one Canadian government insider.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, GM tried to appease the Trump administration while justifying the decisions it announced Monday.

And, referring to the 2008 federal bailout of the auto industry, Trump angrily continued that "the USA saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get!" Unsurprisingly, Trump was a lot more outspoken than Canada's head of state.

Trump described being "very tough" in his conversation with General Motors CEO Mary Barra.

Trump tweeted his warning Tuesday, a day after GM announced it would shutter five plants and slash 14,000 jobs in North America.

Although GM said on Monday the plant closures were not related to the tariffs, the New York Daily News blamed the duties, and published a cartoon on the front page showing a GM vehicle carrying Trump "off a cliff".

Kudlow did make it plain, however, that the White House expects the USMCA to be signed, as planned, by all three countries when G20 leaders gather later this week in Buenos Aires.

GM's attempt to close the factories still has to be negotiated with the United Auto Workers union, which has promised to fight them legally and in collective bargaining.

If Trump fails to help, OH may not blame him for GM closing its doors, but they will blame him for not saving the plant.

Kudlow said, "We are in a position to deal with it and handle it very well".

Automakers, dealers, and suppliers have come out against any new tariffs, arguing that they would hurt even US-based companies and the US's global competitiveness. Company officials also said that GM lost $1 billion because of tariffs Trump implemented on foreign goods.

"Get smart Congress. Also, the countries that send us cars have taken advantage of the USA for decades", Trump wrote.

Trump has not followed up on these threats.

GM did not directly comment on Trump's tweets, but reiterated that it was committed to investing in the United States.

While steel jobs may have dwindled, manufacturing - anchored by the General Motors' Lordstown assembly plant - has remained the cornerstone of the local economy.

"President Trump, I'll compare my record standing up for OH and American workers to yours any day".

Trump and congressional Republicans have touted the tax cuts as a boost to growth and jobs. GM sold almost 2.7 million vehicles in China through September, almost all built in China.

He added that his administration was "looking at cutting all GM subsidies, including for electric cars".

GM has been lobbying Congress, along with Tesla Inc, to lift the current cap on electric vehicles eligible for tax credits, but any action by Congress before 2019 is a long shot, congressional aides said.

GM, Tesla Inc. and Nissan Motor Co. formed a coalition earlier this month to lobby to have the purchase subsidy extended.

About half the workers laid off from those plants would have a chance to relocate to other GM operations, according to the company.

Escalating the dispute further with his statement, Lighthizer said, "China's aggressive, state-directed industrial policies are causing severe harm to U.S. workers and manufacturers". But companies are widely expected to pass along the cost of higher tariffs to American consumers. The company kept the plant open after receiving millions in state subsidies.

  • Eleanor Harrison