Wednesday 18 September 2019

White House expresses disappointment and anger at GM

The reductions could amount to as much as 8% of GM’s global workforce of 180,000 employees.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra Carlos Osorio/AP)
General Motors CEO Mary Barra Carlos Osorio/AP)

By Jonathan Lemire and Zeke Miller, Associated Press

President Donald Trump said he is “very disappointed” that General Motors is closing plants in the United States and warned that the White House was “now looking at cutting all GM subsidies”.

President Trump unleashed on Twitter a day after GM announced it would close five plants and slash 14,000 jobs in North America – with many of the job cuts coming from the Midwest, where the president has promised a manufacturing rebirth.

President Trump wrote that he was “Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. Nothing being closed in Mexico & China”.

And, referring to the 2008 federal bailout of the auto industry, President Trump angrily continued that “the US saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get! We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including for electric cars. General Motors made a big China bet years ago when they built plants there (and in Mexico) – don’t think that bet is going to pay off. I am here to protect America’s Workers!”

President Trump’s tweet came a short time after National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow said the White House’s reaction was “a tremendous amount of disappointment maybe even spilling over into anger”.

Mr Kudlow, who met with Ms Barra on Monday, said that President Trump felt betrayed by GM, which the government had been trying to help.

“Look, we made this deal, we’ve worked with you along the way, we’ve done other things with mileage standards, for example, and other related regulations,” Mr Kudlow said.

“We’ve done this to help you and I think his disappointment is, it seems like that they kind of turned his back on him.”

Buyers of electric vehicles made by GM and other automakers get federal tax credits of up to $7,500 (£5,900), helping to reduce the price as an incentive to get more of the zero-emissions vehicles on the road.

GM on Monday announced it would cut six petrol-powered car models as part of a plan to close factories and cut costs so it can spend more on electric and autonomous vehicle development.

The reductions could amount to as much as 8% of GM’s global workforce of 180,000 employees.

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