Politicians blast General Motors for closing Lordstown plant

Posted at 6:09 PM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2019-03-06 12:34:14-05

The General Motors plant in Lordstown will stop production in March of 2019, sources confirmed.

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

In 2016, the autoworkers of Lordstown were among those who played a role in electing President Donald Trump. 

The Circle One region played arguably the biggest role in swinging Ohio for Trump and it would be the state's Northeast corner with Trumbull County at the center. 

His message in 2016 was the same he used at a Youngstown rally in 2017, promising to stem the flow of manufacturing jobs overseas and bring back the ones that left. 

"Let me tell you folks in Ohio and in this area don't sell your house, don't sell your house, do not sell it. We're going to get those values up, we're going to get those jobs coming back and we're going to fill up those factories or rip them down and build brand new ones," Trump said in 2017. 

On Monday, when asked about the GM branch closing, Trump said he didn't like it. 

"Well, we don’t like it.  I believe they’ll be opening up something else.  And -- I was very tough.  I spoke with her when I heard they were closing.  And I said, 'You know, this country has done a lot for General Motors.  You better get back in there soon.  That’s Ohio, and you better get back in there soon,'" Trump said during a press conference on Monday. 

Congressman Tim Ryan tweeted that the president has been asleep at the switch.

Senator Sherrod Brown agreed with the points Ryan made. 

"I spoke to the president about Lordstown back in June. He's still not really answered, still not spoken out, we're asking him to," Brown said.

Brown said he wants to know from GM what kind of job losses they will see beyond the plant from other companies in the supply chain who owe their livelihoods to the plant. 

"This country has been good to GM with the rescue of the auto industry, less then a decade ago they've been immensely profitable, President Trump just gave them a huge tax cut. They're taking those dollars and building in Mexico and they should be held accountable for this," Brown said. 

In a statement released Monday, Brown echoed these sentiments:

“The workers at Lordstown are the best at what they do, and it’s clear once again that GM doesn’t respect them. Ohio taxpayers rescued GM, and it’s shameful that the company is now abandoning the Mahoning Valley and laying off workers right before the holidays. Even worse, the company reaped a massive tax break from last year’s GOP tax bill and failed to invest that money in American jobs, choosing to build its Blazer in Mexico,” said Brown. “GM owes the community answers on how the rest of the supply chain will be impacted and what consequences its disastrous decision will have on the Mahoning Valley and our state. My office stands ready to do everything we can to help these workers. This decision is corporate greed at its worst.”

Ohio's Republican senator Rob Portman voiced his frustration with GM, and said he has urged the company to consider producing different vehicles at the Lordstown facility. He issued a statement Monday morning that reads, in part:

"I am deeply frustrated with General Motors’ decision to shut down its Lordstown plant and disappointed with how the hardworking employees there have been treated throughout this process. During frank conversations with GM CEO Mary Barra after the announcement that GM cut a shift at the plant due to the weakening market for the Chevy Cruze, I urged her to look to the Lordstown plant for production of other vehicles and to make a public commitment to the plant and its workforce."

Accountability will be a key question for those workers and voters impacted by Monday's decision come 2020.