Trump attacks GM, say they 'better damn well open a new plant' in Ohio after the automaker announces layoffs, factory shutdowns

trump mary barraPresident Donald Trump and GM CEO Mary BarraChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump attacked General Motors over the automaker's shake-up announced Monday.
  • GM will stop producing cars at the plants in Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada.
  • "They better damn well open a new plant there very quickly," Trump said, referring to the Ohio plant.
  • Trump previously promised that the jobs at the Ohio plant were "all coming back."

President Donald Trump shot back at General Motors on Monday after the automaker announced it would stop producing cars at three North American plants - two in the US - and lay off 15% of its salaried workforce.

Trump told The Wall Street Journal that the automaker should stop making cars in China and open a new plant in Ohio instead. The GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio, is one of the three factories that will no longer produce cars under the company's new plan.

"They better damn well open a new plant there very quickly," Trump told the Journal.

The president said that he spoke with GM CEO Mary Barra on Sunday night about the cuts and offered a warning to the executive.

"I love Ohio. I told them, 'You're playing around with the wrong person,'" he said.

Trump has long promised to bring back manufacturing jobs to the Midwest. He held a rally near the GM plant in Ohio in 2017. At that time, GM had already made layoffs at the Lordstown plant and cut factory hours to just one shift. During the rally, Trump promised the jobs were "all coming back."

Trump was not the first politician to attack GM's decision: Ohio lawmakers in both parties blasted the announcement.

In addition to the Ohio changes, GM will also cease production at plants in Michigan and Ontario, Canada. The company did not announce the exact fate of the workers at those plants, as the automaker must still negotiate a deal with the auto unions. In total, the three plants employ around 6,700 workers.

GM said that the factory changes and workforce reductions were part of a long-term restructuring effort and declining demand for sedans. According to the company, the changes will save $4.5 billion by the end of 2020.

In a gaggle with reporters as Trump was departing the White House for Mississippi, the president also suggested that Barra could replace the Ohio factory's current production of the low-selling Chevrolet Cruze with other work.

"I think she's going to put something back in soon," Trump said. "That car is not selling, it's the Cruze, Chevy Cruze. It's not selling, but hopefully she's going to come back and put something."

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