Former President Donald Trump will skip next week’s second Republican presidential primary debate and hold a rally with striking autoworkers and other skilled tradesmen instead.
Trump, 77, is planning to hold the event, which will include a prime-time speech, in Detroit on Sept. 27 — the same night his GOP rivals will convene in California at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum for the second primary debate, a source familiar with the former president’s plans told The Post on Monday. The move signals that Trump, who holds a nearly 44 point lead over his closest GOP primary opponent, is already looking past the GOP primaries and focusing his attention on defeating President Biden in 2024, in part, by courting union members in one the states he lost to the 80-year-old incumbent in 2020. Next week’s rally won’t just be for autoworkers. The Trump campaign is planning on packing the room with more than 500 tradesmen, including plumbers, pipe-fitters and electricians, the New York Times first reported on Monday.
Trump blasted Biden over the weekend, accusing him of not supporting the interests of American auto workers by promoting electric vehicles.
“The United Autoworkers are being sold down the ‘drain’ with this all Electric Car SCAM,” Trump wrote on Truth Social Sunday. “They’ll be made in China, under Crooked Joe’s CHINA FIRST POLICY.” “AUTOWORKERS, VOTE FOR TRUMP – I’LL MAKE YOU VICTORIOUS & RICH. IF YOUR ‘LEADERS’ WON’T ENDORSE ME, VOTE ￼THEM OUT OF OFFICE, NOW. WITH THE DEMOCRATS & CROOKED JOE CALLING THE SHOTS, YOU’LL BE JOBLESS & PENNILESS WITHIN 4 YEARS. REMEMBER, BIDEN IS A CROOK WHO HAS BEEN PAID MILLIONS OF DOLLARS BY CHINA, & OTHERS. He is a Manchurian Candidate!!!” the former president added. The strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers – Ford, General Motors and Stellantis – entered its fourth day on Monday, with about 13,000 combined workers represented by the United Auto Workers union refusing to work at three factories unless they’re offered better wages and benefits. The UAW union notably refused to endorse Biden in the spring, with President Shawn Fain expressing serious concerns about his administration’s preference for electric vehicles.
But Fain has also charged that a second Trump presidency would be a “disaster.”
Biden has not recommended terms for a deal – the UAW is demanding a 40% pay raise for workers and a 32-hour work week – but he has endorsed the strike and has blasted “record profits” that he says automakers have not “shared fairly” with workers. Trump lost Michigan to Biden by less than 3 percentage points in 2020 after previously defeating Hillary Clinton in Great Lake State by less than 1 percentage point.
The former president skipped the first GOP presidential debate in Milwaukee last month, opting instead to do an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson on X – the social media platform formerly known as Twitter – that aired at the same time as candidates took the stage.