President Donald Trump on Thursday said General Motors Co’s decision to shift much of its focus to electric vehicles will not succeed, and he asserted a new trade deal will make it harder for the company to move work to other countries.
GM last year said it planned to launch 20 new electric vehicles by 2023 as it faces rising regulatory requirements for zero-emission vehicles in China and elsewhere.
The largest U.S. automaker has come under enormous criticism in Washington after it announced on Nov. 26 plans to close four plants in the United States and cut up to 15,000 jobs in North America.
Trump questioned GM CEO Mary Barra’s business strategy in an interview with Fox News.
“They’ve changed the whole model of General Motors. They’ve gone to all-electric. All-electric is not going to work … It’s wonderful to have it as a percentage of your cars, but going into this model that she’s doing I think is a mistake,” Trump said.
Barra was on Capitol Hill for two days of meetings last week to discuss the company’s decision with angry lawmakers from states where plants are closing. “To tell me a couple weeks before Christmas that’s she going to close in Ohio and Michigan – not acceptable to me,” Trump said.
Trump has repeatedly said GM should reverse a decision to close an assembly plant in northeast Ohio, an area potentially crucial in the 2020 presidential election. “Ohio is going to replace those jobs in like two minutes,” Trump said. “She’s either going to open fast or somebody else is going to go in.”
GM shares fell 1.4 percent in trading Thursday.
Asked to respond, GM said it timed its job cut announcement so employees could accept open jobs at other plants.
“We continue to produce great vehicles today for our customers while taking steps toward our vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion,” GM said.
Trump suggested that a new free trade deal with Mexico and Canada makes it “very uncomfortable” for GM to build cars outside the United States.
“I don’t like that General Motors does that… General Motors is not going to be treated well,” he said without elaborating.
Trump signed a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada on Nov. 30 to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, but that deal has not been approved by the U.S. Congress.
The deal boosts the North American content requirements for vehicles to be traded tariff free and requires a significant percentage of vehicles to be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour.
Some Democrats argue the trade deal may need changes to deter GM and other automakers from continuing significant production in Mexico. GM is not backing off its plans to build the new Chevrolet Blazer SUV in Mexico.
Reporting by Lisa Lambert; editing by Cynthia Osterman
US indicts ‘Evil Corp’ hackers with alleged Russian intelligence ties
A Lamborghini-driving Moscow hacker who called his operation Evil Corp and has ties to the FSB Russian intelligence service was indicted by US authorities Thursday for the cybertheft of tens of millions of dollars.
An indictment unsealed in Pittsburgh named Maksim Yakubets and his Evil Corp partner Igor Turashev as the main figures in a group which inserted malware on computers in dozens of countries to steal more than $100 million from companies and local authorities.
The indictment was accompanied by sanctions from the US Treasury on the two men, as well as the announcement of a $5 million reward toward Yakubets' arrest and conviction -- the highest reward ever offered for a cybercriminal.
‘You’re a damn liar’: Joe Biden goes off on Iowa voter for attacking his son’s work in Ukraine
As House Democrats move closer to indicting President Donald Trump on articles of impeachment, many Trump supporters continue to insist that Trump did nothing wrong when, on July 25, he tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Moreover, some impeachment critics still claim that an investigation of the Bidens’ activities in Ukraine is warranted. The Bidens’ connection to Ukraine was brought up this week by a man at a Joe Biden campaign event in Iowa — and the former vice president and U.S. senator from Delaware wasted no time calling him out.
Ukrainians aren’t happy about Rudy Giuliani’s surprise visit to ‘destroy’ Dems’ impeachment efforts: report
President Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, made a surprise visit to Ukraine's capital this week with his "shady band of conspiracy theorists," BuzzFeed News reports, and people are not happy about his arrival.
Giuliani's visit comes as Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky prepares to enter into peace talks with Russian president Vladimir Putin and as Ukrainians looks to distance themselves from the fact that their country is a key factor in the impeachment proceedings playing out in D.C. As BuzzFeed News points out, Giuliani is in the country to do research for a pro-Trump documentary that aims to "destroy" the Democrats' impeachment effort.