Trump capitalizes on Biden’s increasingly unpopular push for electric vehicles as union workers balk

A new poll shows likely 2024 voters, including Democrats, and labor unions represent auto workers, key to Biden's reelection effort, are unhappy with his EV push.

Published: July 2, 2023 11:05pm

Updated: July 3, 2023 7:00am

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appears to have found fertile ground in Americans' dissatisfaction with President Joe Biden's aggressive green energy agenda, particularly his push to move the country toward more electric vehicles.

During a recent speech in Michigan, Trump turned his attention to U.S. auto workers, whom he says are having their industry “decimated” by the EV agenda.

“Electric cars will kill more than half of U.S. auto jobs and decimate the suppliers that they decimated already,” said Trump,  who also called the Biden administration's climate initiatives “heartless and disloyal.”

“The push for all electric cars, it’s killing the United States. It’s killing Michigan and it’s a total vote for China,” he also said amid state Democrats approving $700 million in funding and tax breaks for China-linked Gotion Inc. to build an EV battery plant near the city of Big Rapids.

In response, residents have taken up an effort to remove local elected officials who approved the plan to have the $2.3 billion plant built in their township. 

In 2021, Biden issued an executive orders that set a goal to require half of “all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in 2030” be 100% emissions free, which appears to be taking a toll on manufacturers.

The Wall Street Journal has recently reported U.S. automaker Ford could lay off at least 1,000 employees and contract workers so it can front the cost of its EV manufacturing, which follows a 3,000-person lay off in the U.S. last summer and even more globally.

Ford said in March it expects to lose $3 billion in 2023 from its EV division.

Other EV ventures are also experiencing financial woes.

General Motors is offering the “majority” of its 58,000 salaried employees, voluntary buyouts, and is looking to cut billions of dollars in spending for its EV venture.

More recently, a Harvard CAPS-Harris survey last month showed 59% of likely voters oppose Biden's 2021 executive order that included 41% of Democrat respondent from 60% of Independent/others.

Biden's agenda could also cost him reelection support from one of his biggest, most loyal supporters – labor unions. 

United Auto Workers (UAW) is withholding its endorsement for him over concerns his electric vehicle policies could result in less jobs or lower-paying ones. 

Union President Shawn Fain said the union wants Biden to push harder for better wages and benefits for workers at EV facilities, amid  a battery plant that General Motors Co. is helping to develop in Ohio in which workers will start at $16.50 an hour – nearly half of what GM workers were making at a nearby plant before it closed in 2019.

“The federal government is pouring billions into the electric vehicle transition with no strings attached and no commitment to workers,” Fain told Politico in May. “We want to see national leadership have our back on this before we make any commitments.”

Last month, Fain accused Biden of “facilitating ... corporate greed,” regarding a $9.2 billion loan his administration gave Ford for an EV battery plant. 

“The federal government,” Fain said, is “actively funding the race to the bottom with billions in public money.”

“These companies are extremely profitable and will continue to make money hand over fist whether they’re selling combustion engines or EVs. Yet the workers get a smaller and smaller piece of the pie,” he also said.

Trump recently said at a dinner with the Oakland County Republican Party in Michigan, “Sadly, none has betrayed Michigan more than crooked Joe Biden. He’s betrayed your state because he’s allowing people to take away your jobs.”

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