Former President Donald Trump will travel next week to Michigan, a swing state, to meet with striking auto workers instead of participating in the Republican Party’s second presidential debate, a person familiar with his plans said Monday.
Trump, who also did not participate in the first debate last month, indicated that he is already focused on the 2024 elections against President Joe Biden, enjoying a wide advantage over his Republican rivals in the polls ahead of the primaries. The former president has been frequently referring to the strike, expressing his empathy for workers and accusing Biden of trying to destroy the auto industry by pushing the use of electric vehicles and other green energy policies.
The Sept. 27 trip, which was first reported by The New York Times, will also include a prime-time speech, according to the person familiar with the plans, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity before make the trip public.
That’s the date other Republican hopefuls will gather at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, for the party’s second debate.
When the other Republican hopefuls met last month in Milwaukee, Trump participated in an interview with Tucker Carlson that was pre-recorded and broadcast on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, during the first hour of the debate.
Trump has sought to project himself as a champion of the “forgotten men and women” of the working class, and spent much of his 2016 campaign holding events in troubled Rust Belt towns. due to less focus on mining and manufacturing activity.
A few months ago, Trump visited East Palestine, Ohio, after a train derailed near the site, a trip that aides have called a key moment in his campaign as he tried to recover from losses in the midterm elections. and while they tried to put their defeat in 2020 behind them.
Ammar Moussa, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, said Monday: “Donald Trump is going to Michigan next week to lie to workers and pretend he didn’t spend his entire failed presidency selling them out at every opportunity. Instead of standing up for workers, Trump cut taxes for super-millionaires while auto companies closed their doors and sent American jobs overseas.”
On Monday, the United Auto Workers union and Detroit’s Big Three automakers resumed talks aimed at ending a four-day strike. Stellantis called the talks “constructive.” A General Motors spokesman said company and UAW representatives were still negotiating.
Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Joey Cappelletti contributed to this report.
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