A night after an often raucous debate at Detroit’s Fox Theatre, an equally boisterous crowd gathered Friday morning at Macomb Community College to hear the front runner for the Republican nomination, Donald Trump, excoriate his rivals as weak and promise to keep automakers from moving production elsewhere.
In a speech full of references to Michigan’s dominant auto industry and the threats posed by foreign competition and outsourcing, Trump whipped up the crowd at the college Sports and Expo Center in Warren, saying he was “100% sure” a Trump presidency would keep Ford Motor Co. from opening any future plant in Mexico. And he suggested that was just the start for his negotiating better business deals in the U.S. and around the globe to create and save jobs.
“We are going to do something that is going to (be) great (and) a very big beneficiary is going to be Michigan,” Trump said, to a cheering crowd. “The car business is being abused more than most other businesses. … Mexico is becoming the new China.”
The working-class message was red meat to a sympathetic crowd — even if some of Trump’s remarks were flatly incorrect or potentially misleading. He suggested at one point that Ford was moving production to Mexico at the cost of at least two plants — apparently taking the fact from someone in the crowd. But Ford hasn’t announced any closure plans and hasn’t closed a plant since 2011.