Trump skipping second GOP debate to give competing speech in Detroit

17:53 18.09.2023 - CBS News

Former President Donald Trump will skip the second Republican presidential primary debate next week in California to give a competing address the same night in Detroit, his campaign confirmed.

The exact time and audience are not yet clear, but the New York Times first reported Trump would skip the California debate in favor of remarks to a union crowd. Trump will speak in the same city where United Auto Workers members have taken to the picket lines to demand higher wages, better schedules and better benefits.

The former president's upcoming address comes as polling shows he is the strong frontrunner in the Republican field, a reason he has given for skipping the debates entirely. The former president skipped the first GOP debate for a primetime interview with Tucker Carlson.

A new CBS News poll found Trump edging out President Biden in a head-to-head matchup, with Trump at 50% and Mr. Biden at 49%.

/ Monday, September 18, 2023, 5:53 PM /

themes:  Detroit  Donald Trump  California  Michigan  New York (state)

Trump to Woo Striking Union Members in Detroit, Skipping 2nd G.O.P. Debate

Former President Donald J. Trump is planning to travel to Detroit on the day of the next Republican primary debate, according to two Trump advisers with knowledge of the plans, injecting himself into the labor dispute between striking autoworkers and the nation's leading auto manufacturers.

The trip, which will include a prime-time speech before current and former union members, is the second consecutive primary debate that Mr. Trump is skipping to instead hold his own counterprogramming. He sat for an interview with the former Fox News host Tucker Carlson that posted online during the first G.O.P. presidential debate in August.

The decision to go to Michigan just days after the United Auto Workers went on strike shows the extent to which Mr. Trump wants to be seen as looking past his primary rivals - and the reality that both he and his political apparatus are already focused on the possibility of a rematch with President Biden.

So instead of attending the next G.O.P. debate - on Sept. 27 in California at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum - Mr. Trump intends to speak to over 500 workers, with his campaign planning to fill the room with plumbers, pipe-fitters, electricians, as well as autoworkers, according to one of the Trump advisers familiar with the planning. Mr. Trump has not directly addressed the wage demands of striking workers and has attacked the union leadership, but he has tried to more broadly cast himself on the side of autoworkers.

The campaign is also considering the possibility of having Mr. Trump make an appearance at the picket line, although the adviser said such a visit, which could involve difficult logistics given the former president's security protections, is unlikely.

The former president has long prided himself on his appeal to rank-and-file union workers - even as most union leaders have remained hostile to him, and as Mr. Biden has called himself the most pro-union president in history. In the 2016 campaign, an adviser to Mr. Trump, Paul Manafort, sought to establish a back channel with organized labor in Michigan and Wisconsin in the hopes the A.F.L.-C.I.O. would scale back its efforts to help the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. It did not appear to go anywhere, but underscored the areas that Mr. Trump considered vital in the general election.

Mr. Trump won Michigan in the 2016 election, one of the states in the so-called blue wall that crumbled for Democrats that year. But Mr. Biden carried Michigan by more than 150,000 votes in 2020, and it is seen as a critical state for Democrats in 2024.

The Trump campaign has produced a radio ad that will begin running on Tuesday in Detroit and Toledo, Ohio, trying to cast Mr. Trump as aligned with autoworkers. The same Trump adviser said the ad targeted union workers and men, and will air on sports and rock-themed stations.

"All they've ever wanted is to compete fairly worldwide and get their fair share of the American dream," the narrator says in the ad. "Donald Trump calls them great Americans and has always had their backs."

Mr. Trump has repeatedly criticized the transition to electric vehicles, and in a post on his social media site Truth Social over the weekend, he called it an "Electric Car SCAM." The radio ad also uses the Biden administration's support for the transition to electric vehicles to attack Mr. Biden.

The ad does not specifically mention the strike, which began last week against all big three Detroit automakers, and in which the union is seeking a 40 percent wage increase over four years.

Mr. Biden has sided with the striking workers, sending two top aides to Detroit and saying at the White House hours after the strike began that "workers deserve a fair share of the benefits they helped create."

The United Auto Workers pointedly decided not to endorse Mr. Biden this spring ahead of the current labor clash, with the union's new president, Shawn Fain, expressing concern about the labor elements of the transition to electric vehicles. At the same time, in a memo, Mr. Fain said Mr. Trump would be a disaster if he returned to the White House.

In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" broadcast over the weekend, Mr. Trump was critical of Mr. Fain, saying workers had been "sold down the river by their leadership."

"I don't know the gentleman, but I know his name very well, and I think he's not doing a good job in representing his union," Mr. Trump said. "Because he's not going to have a union in three years from now. Those jobs are all going to be gone, because all of those electric cars are going to be made in China."

In a statement after The New York Times reported on Mr. Trump's Detroit plans, Mr. Fain said that "every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers."

"We can't keep electing billionaires and millionaires that don't have any understanding what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to get by and expecting them to solve the problems of the working class," he said.

Trump chooses speech to auto workers over second GOP debate

Former U.S. President Donald Trump has announced his decision to skip the second Republican presidential debate and instead give a speech in Detroit on September 27. The speech will target a crowd of union workers and aims to insert Trump into a dispute between striking workers and the leading automakers in America. Trump's team is strategically focusing on winning back the support of working-class voters who had defected to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

The decision to skip the debate comes as no surprise, as Trump currently leads his nearest rival by nearly 50 percentage points, according to recent opinion polls. Instead, he plans to deliver a prime time speech to auto workers and other blue-collar union members. This move signifies Trump's attempt to shift his focus beyond the Republican primaries and towards a potential general election rematch with President Biden in November.

The speech holds immense political significance due to its timing amidst the ongoing strike by the United Auto Workers union against the three largest auto manufacturers in the United States. The strike centers around issues related to pay and benefits, and Biden's response to the labor dispute has faced criticism from some rank-and-file auto workers who believe he has not done enough to support their cause.

Trump aims to capitalize on this discontent and persuade union members that he would be their advocate if elected president again. He has been highly critical of Biden's electric vehicle policies, accusing him of "waging war" on the auto industry through electric vehicle mandates. Trump has even called for the UAW to endorse him, further emphasizing his commitment to siding with workers.

Moreover, the geographical implications of the strike cannot be overlooked, as many of the affected workers are based in crucial Midwestern battleground states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. These states played a vital role in determining the outcome of the 2020 election and are expected to be decisive again in the upcoming general election. Trump's decision to give his speech in Detroit underscores his focus on these key states and his determination to regain their support.

This is not the first time Trump has chosen to skip a Republican primary debate. He also avoided the first debate held in Wisconsin last month. However, his decision to prioritize his address to union members in Detroit showcases his confidence in his frontrunner status and his belief that the debates hold less significance for his campaign. Recent polling by CBS News even indicates that Trump would outperform Biden in a head-to-head matchup.

While the exact details of Trump's speech, including the time and audience, remain unclear, it is evident that he is taking a bold and calculated step to rally support among union workers and solidify his position as the leading Republican candidate. As the 2024 presidential race continues to unfold, the political landscape will undoubtedly be shaped by the outcome of this strike and how each candidate positions themselves in relation to the concerns of working-class Americans.

Trump to skip next Republican debate, give speech to auto workers

 ..... S. President Donald Trump plans to give a speech in Detroit on Sept. 27 to a crowd of union workers, skipping the second Republican presidential debate, an aide said on Monday, and instead inserting himself into a dispute between striking workers and America's leading automakers.

The prime time speech is expected to be delivered to auto workers and other blue collar union members, the aide added. The speech comes as Trump has been harshly critical of President Joe Biden's electric vehicle policies and urged autoworkers to back his candidacy.

The event will mark the second time Trump has skipped a Republican primary presidential debate, in a race where despite his myriad legal problems, Trump leads his nearest rival by nearly 50 percentage points, according to the most recent opinion polls.

Trump's speech signals an effort by his team to look beyond his party's White House nominating contest and onto a likely general election re-match with Biden next November.

The speech to union members will be part of an intense campaign by Trump to win back some of the working class voters who defected to Biden in his 2020 victory against Trump.

The United Auto Workers union began a strike last week against the three biggest U.S. auto manufacturers over pay and other benefits, a labor dispute that could pose significant political danger for Biden.

While Biden has touted his support of unions for decades, there is anger among some rank-and-file auto workers that he has not done enough to stand up to the manufacturers and their executives amid huge industry profits.

Trump is seeking to exploit the dispute, and will try to persuade auto workers and other union members that he will be on their side if he becomes president again.

Trump has said recently that Biden is "waging war" on the auto industry through electric vehicle mandates and has said the UAW should endorse him.

The current strike also has profound geographical resonance for next year's general election because many of the affected workers are based in three key Midwestern battleground states - Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - where next year's presidential contest could be decided.

Trump skipped the first Republican presidential debate in Wisconsin last month. The second debate is being held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute in Simi Valley, California, about 45 miles (72 km) north of Los Angeles.

Trump Chooses Striking Union Members Over Second GOP Debate in Detroit

Former President Donald Trump has announced that he will not be attending the second Republican presidential primary debate next week. Instead, he plans to hold a rally in Detroit on September 27th, the same night as the debate. According to a source familiar with Trump's plans, the rally will be focused on striking autoworkers and other skilled tradesmen.

The decision to skip the debate and hold the rally indicates that Trump is already looking ahead to the 2024 election and is focused on defeating President Biden. By targeting union members in Michigan, a state he lost to Biden in 2020, Trump is hoping to gain support and build momentum for his campaign.

The rally will not only be for autoworkers, but will also include over 500 tradesmen such as plumbers, pipe-fitters, and electricians, according to the New York Times. Trump's campaign is aiming to pack the room with these workers in an effort to show his support for the skilled trades and to highlight his opposition to Biden's promotion of electric vehicles.

In fact, Trump has been openly critical of Biden's support for electric vehicles, accusing him of not supporting the interests of American autoworkers. On his social media platform, Truth Social, Trump wrote, "The United Autoworkers are being sold down the 'drain' with this all Electric Car SCAM. They'll be made in China, under Crooked Joe's CHINA FIRST POLICY." He has called on autoworkers to vote for him, claiming that he will make them victorious and rich.

The rally comes as the strike against Detroit's Big Three automakers - Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis - enters its fourth day. Around 13,000 workers represented by the United Auto Workers union are refusing to work at three factories until they are offered better wages and benefits. The union notably did not endorse Biden in the spring, expressing concerns about his support for electric vehicles. However, the union's president, Shawn Fain, has also criticized a second Trump presidency, calling it a "disaster."

Biden has endorsed the strike and has criticized automakers for not sharing their record profits with workers. While he has not recommended specific terms for a deal, the UAW is demanding a 40% pay raise for workers and a 32-hour work week.

Michigan is a critical state for both parties, as Trump narrowly won it in 2016, but Biden carried it in 2020. Trump's campaign has already produced a radio ad targeting union workers and men in Detroit and Toledo, Ohio. The ad praises Trump for supporting autoworkers and criticizes Biden's support for electric vehicles.

Overall, Trump's decision to skip the debate and hold a rally with striking autoworkers and other tradesmen shows his focus on the 2024 election and his determination to gain support from union members in Michigan. By highlighting his opposition to electric vehicles and his support for the skilled trades, Trump hopes to appeal to working-class voters and build momentum for a potential rematch with President Biden.

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