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The Lordstown GM plant closure is officially a political football

Posted: 3:25 PM, Nov 28, 2018
Updated: 2019-03-06 12:34:39-05
Brown hits back at Trump over Lordstown closure

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) fired back at President Donald Trump on Tuesday following an interview the president had with The Wall Street Journal where he laid blame regarding Lordstown's GM plant closure at the Ohio senator's feet — despite the fact that the governors in the states where the GM plants are stopping production are all Republican.

RELATED:  Lordstown residents devastated after GM decides to close plant

On Tuesday, Brown hit back on the president's bully pulpit of choice.

"I’ll compare my record standing up for Ohio & American workers to yours any day," Brown said on Twitter. "Instead of giving companies tax breaks to shut down American factories & lay off workers, why haven’t you supported the American Cars American Jobs Act?"

RELATED:  Community devastated after announcement that General Motors Lordstown plant to stop production

Brown's tweet also included a link to an August  Toledo Blade  story outlining the proposal that would support the American auto industry.

The plan called for a $3,500 cash subsidy when someone purchased a new American-made vehicle, the Toledo Blade article reported.

The Toledo Blade article goes on to say that since Brown's plan "would put America and American workers first, it should appeal to the president and his economic advisers. Mr. Brown should seek their support." 

On Monday, during an interview with the WSJ about China, tariffs and the auto industry, Trump didn't acknowledge that in the states where GM recently called it quits, the highest political office is held by a Republican. Instead, Trump told the WSJ that Ohio wasn't "properly represented" by its Democratic senator.

Specifically, Brown's name came up when  WSJ reporter Bob Davis asked Trump during an interview if there was anything the president could do regarding GM closing plants.

Trump responded by throwing Brown under the bus, or in this case, a Chevrolet Cruze.

"Well, it’s one plant in Ohio. But I love Ohio. And I told them: You’re playing around with the wrong person. And Ohio wasn’t properly represented by their Democrat senator, Senator Brown, because he didn’t get the point across," Trump said. "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."

Trump didn't elaborate on or specify how Ohio wasn’t properly represented by Brown.

It is worth noting that Sen. Brown has recently expressed interest in the Democratic ticket for president in 2020. Brown was the lone Democrat who claimed victory in a statewide contest during Ohio’s 2018 midterm elections during what turned out to be a Republican romp.  

RELATED:  Sen. Sherrod Brown, Gov. John Kasich 'considering' presidential runs against Donald Trump in 2020

Brown wasn't the only Ohio politician who took aim at the president. Congressman Tim Ryan, a Democrat representing Ohio's 13th District, lambasted Trump and the GOP's corporate tax cut.

"So far, President Trump has been asleep at the switch and owes this community an explanation. We tried to get his attention on this issue two years ago," Ryan said on Twitter. "He promised us that his massive corporate tax cut would lead to dramatic reinvestments in our communities. That clearly is not happening. The Valley has been yearning for the Trump Administration to come here, roll up their sleeves and help us fight for this recovery. What we’ve gotten instead are broken promises and petty tweets."

RELATED:  Politicians blast General Motors for closing Lordstown plant  

And whether it likes it or not, Lordstown and its residents are caught in the middle of what's becoming a political soapbox. About 1,500 employees will lose their jobs as the plant is reallocated. 

RELATED:  Nearly 600 Lordstown GM employees accept early retirement/buyout before elimination of second shift

In previous years, the GM plant made up nearly 40 percent of the city's tax revenue when it was running with three full shifts, but that changed when the first shift was cut in January 2017. Then more bad news; a second shift was cut over summer 2018, leaving just a single shift. Recently, the plant brought in about 20 percent of Lordstown's budget and that number is set to change again. This time, to zero.

RELATED:  Tax impact on Lordstown after GM's announcement could be devastating

Even before those shifts were cut, nearly 600 workers opted to take an early retirement instead of facing a turbulent future that lay ahead with the plant. Now, those who chose to stick it out have had the rug finally pulled out from under them.