Former President Donald Trump will not attend the upcoming Republican primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, Calif., and will instead travel to Detroit to meet with auto workers.
Additionally, Trump, 77, will deliver a prime-time speech to coincide with the debate.
His visit comes as Motor City strikers are at odds with the nation’s largest automakers. Trump criticized union leaders in Detroit, accusing them of betraying their members.
During the last debate in August, Trump gave an interview to former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
He said in an interview with another former Fox host, Megyn Kelly, that he would debate Biden but was unlikely to participate in a Republican debate. “I do not see it. Why should I do it? “, did he declare.
During the first debate in Milwaukee, Trump wrote on Truth Social: “The public knows who I am and what a successful presidency I have had. »
Among those meeting with Trump are more than 500 blue-collar workers, including auto workers, plumbers, pipefitters and electricians, reports the New York Times.
Donald Trump announced this week that he would skip the second Republican presidential debate in order to meet with striking auto workers in Detroit.
This is the first time in history that all three unionized American automakers have gone on strike at the same time.
United Auto Workers member Brian Rooster Heppner raises his fist as he applauds at a rally in Detroit on Friday.
Members of the United Auto Workers march through downtown Detroit on Friday. UAW leads strike against Ford, Stellantis and General Motors
Trump has yet to publicly choose his side in the conflict between the 150,000-member Auto Workers Union and automakers.
A source close to his campaign said the former Apprentice host was unlikely to attend the picket lines due to security concerns. The union is demanding a 36 percent wage increase over four years and equal pay for new workers.
Trump won Michigan in 2016, flipping it from 2012, one of several states where he upset Hillary Clinton. In 2020, President Joe Biden won the state by more than 150,000 votes.
A recent CBS News A poll shows that in a possible general election, Trump holds a 1% lead over the incumbent president.
The Times report mentions that a new Trump television ad launched in Michigan and Ohio.
“All they ever wanted was to compete fairly on a global scale and get their fair share of the American dream.” Donald Trump calls them great Americans and has always supported them,” the narrator says in the ad.
In response to Trump’s announcement, a spokesperson for Biden’s 2024 campaign said the real estate mogul “will be traveling to Michigan next week to lie to Michigan workers and claim he doesn’t hadn’t spent his entire failed presidency selling them off at every turn.”
During an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Trump accused UAW members of being “sold out by the leadership.”
He also sharply criticized UAW President Shawn Fain.
Trump said UAW President Shawn Fain was ‘not doing a good job’
UAW union members march through the streets of downtown Detroit following a rally on the first day of the UAW strike in Detroit
Biden, who describes himself as “the most pro-union president in American history,” spoke with UAW boss Shawn Fain and three automaker CEOs in a last-ditch effort vain to avoid a strike.
“I don’t know this gentleman, but I know his name very well and I think he is not doing a good job representing his union. Because he won’t have a union in three years. These jobs are all going to disappear, because all these electric cars are going to be made in China,” Trump said.
Trump made similar statements on his Truth Social platform this weekend, calling electric cars “a disaster for both the United Auto Workers and the American consumer.”
“If this happens, United Auto workers will be wiped out, along with every other auto worker in the United States,” Trump added.
Fain said it would be a “disaster” if Trump won in 2024, but refused to support Biden on issues related to electric cars. During an appearance on CBS Face the Nation, Fain said his union’s support is “going to be earned and not given freely.” We are waiting for action. Not words.
Speaking about Trump’s visit to Detroit, Fain told the Times that “every fiber of our union is dedicated to fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of working people.” “.
“We cannot continue to elect billionaires and millionaires who have no understanding of what it means to live paycheck to paycheck and are struggling to get by and expected to solve the problems. working class issues,” Fain continued.
Biden expressed support for the strikers, calling on Ford, Stellantis and General Motors to improve their wage proposals.
Since 2020, Biden has “appointed union allies to the National Labor Relations Board and federal judgeships,” reports the Washington Post. 2021 legislation gave unions more bargaining power.
Trump’s biggest challenger in the Republican primaries. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently vetoed a pro-electric vehicle law that had bipartisan support in the Sunshine State.
DeSantis took aim at Trump’s decision not to attend the first GOP debate, saying, “You have to earn the nomination, and … doing things like these debates, those are important parts of the process.”
The next debate will be moderated by Fox News’ Stuart Varney and Dana Perino alongside Univision’s Ilia Calderon.