President Donald Trump today dismissed thousands of layoffs at General Motors, saying in an interview with Fox News that they don’t “really matter” even as American workers from Michigan to Maryland prepare to lose their jobs.
The company announced last month that it would lay off around 14,000 workers — more than 11,000 of them in the U.S. and about 2,600 in Canada — after the auto giant indicated that the Trump administration’s trade policies had imposed large costs.
The layoffs, which included about 3,000 workers in Canada, will impact workers in Michigan, Ohio and Maryland.
On Fox’s “Outnumbered” this afternoon, anchor Harris Faulkner said to Trump, “GM said, ‘You know what, we’re going to wipe away 15 percent of the workforce right before Christmas,’” noting Trump’s objections to the decision.
“I don’t like what [GM CEO Mary T. Barra] did,” Trump replied. “It was nasty. It doesn’t really matter. Because Ohio, under my leadership – from a national standpoint, Ohio’s going to replace those jobs in under two minutes.”
However, workers at the GM plants in Michigan, Ohio, and Maryland are expressing grave concerns about what losing their jobs means for their futures.
Trump’s comment comes amid erratic fluctuations in the stock market, also driven in part by Trump’s trade conflicts with several countries, including adversaries such as China as well as allies like Canada and Mexico.
While campaigning for president in 2015 and 2016, Trump frequently promised that he would be able to prevent factory layoffs and outsourcing.
During a July 2017 campaign stop in Trumbull County, Ohio, which houses a soon-to-be-closed GM plant in Lordstown, Trump promised to revive the economy.
“Let me tell you folks in Ohio and in this area, don’t sell your house. Don’t sell your house. Do not sell it,” Trump told the crowd. “We’re going to get those values up. We’re going to get those jobs coming back, and we’re going to fill up those factories, or rip them down and build brand-new ones. It’s going to happen.”
Tommy Wolikow, who lost his job at the Lordstown plant in a round of layoffs two years ago, believed Trump.
“He said to the crowd, he said, ‘Don’t sell your homes,’” Wolikow told PBS after GM’s announcement. “Well, I bought a house two miles away from where I worked. He said, jobs are going to be pouring back in. I lost my job. It just kind of sounded like he was speaking to me.”