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article imageOp-Ed: Trump again distorts the facts on the state of the auto industry

By Karen Graham     Sep 1, 2019 in Business
President Trump stepped up his attacks on General Motors Friday and called on the company to move jobs back to the United States from overseas. As usual, Trump distorted the facts he tweeted about the auto industry.
Despite a major hurricane threatening the Southeast coast of the U.S., the tweeter-in-chief decided to stir up some trouble by tackling General Motors on Friday, suggesting that GM should start moving its manufacturing operations "back to America," while renewing his calls to build up the auto industry.
"They moved major plants to China, BEFORE I CAME INTO OFFICE," Trump tweeted. "This was done despite the saving help given them by the USA. Now they should start moving back to America again?"
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President Donald J. Trump
THE FACTS: First, General Motors did not shut down any U.S. plants and move production to China. It set up and expanded operations there to serve China’s market. The saving help Trump refers to was in reference to the federal government's auto industry-bailout at the height of the Great Recession. GM received almost $50 billion in government assistance, most of which was ultimately repaid.
Another out-right distortion of the facts is Trump saying GM "is now one of the smallest auto manufacturers in Detroit." Actually, GM is one of the largest U.S. automakers. And it remains the largest Michigan-headquartered employer in the state, with a workforce of 52,000 outpacing that of Ford, the state government and Fiat Chrysler, according to an analysis this year by Crain’s Detroit Business.
In an email to The Hill, GM noted their workforce has remained stable for the past 10 years. The automaker also pointed to investments of more than $23 billion in its U.S. manufacturing operations in the last decade, across 11 states.
A line of Chevrolet autos made by General Motors are seen for sale at a dealer in Wheat Ridge
A line of Chevrolet autos made by General Motors are seen for sale at a dealer in Wheat Ridge
Rick Wilking / Reuters
Another fact check: Yes, GM does produce thousands of automobiles in China. It's as part of joint ventures with local companies, virtually all of them are sold in the Chinese market. Trump's rants about GM in China has more to do with his trade war with Beijing. Actually, according to the Associated Press, Mexico has more influence in shaping the American auto industry.
Trump's continuing attacks on General Motors are getting tiresome and sound more-and-more like the verbosity of a senile old man. Or in other words, it's the "same-old-same-old," broken record.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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