Trump to skip second GOP debate and head to Detroit to court autoworkers instead

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On September 15, former President Donald Trump spoke at an event in Washington.

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Former President Donald Trump speaks on September 15th, 2015 at an event in Washington.

Jose Luis Magana/AP


Former president Donald Trump will not attend the debate in California on September 27. According to a source with knowledge of the plans, Trump will instead head to Detroit that day to support striking union autoworkers who are calling for better contract terms to be offered by the Big Three automakers.

Trump is promoting his upcoming trip to Detroit as a viable alternative to incumbent Democrat President Biden who received the UAW’s coveted 2020 endorsement. Biden won a majority of votes from union households during that election. This helped him win battleground states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which Trump won in 2016. While the UAW traditionally endorsed Democratic candidates in the past, it has declined to do so for Biden’s bid for a second-term.

Trump’s visit also creates a unique political triangle between the union and two leaders.

Trump’s visit creates a unique triangle of political power between the union, Trump, and the two leaders. Biden said that auto companies have seen record profits, including in the last few years, because of the extraordinary skill and sacrifices made by UAW workers. “

On Monday, United Auto Workers members walked the picket lines at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant, in Wayne, Mich.

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United auto workers members walk along the picket lines at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant, in Wayne, Mich. on Monday.

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Fain, who has stated on numerous occasions that another Trump administration would be “a catastrophe”, is unlikely to endorse Trump. Fain was blunt in her response to Trump’s visit. Fain stated that “every fiber of our union” is devoted to fighting against the billionaire class, and an economic system which enriches Donald Trump while workers are left behind. “We cannot keep electing millionaires and billionaires who don’t understand what it’s like to struggle and live paycheck-to-paycheck and expect them solve the problems of working class,” Fain continued.
Still, even without a splashy endorsement from the top brass, many union autoworkers are voters and, in swing states like Michigan, Trump showing up for selfies and hand shakes could be just appealing enough to some members of a beleaguered workforce.

Skipping the debate

Trump’s avoidance of the debate stage is unsurprising. Trump’s decision to skip the debate stage for the first GOP discussion in Milwaukee is not surprising. Instead, he appeared in a 1-on-1 interview with former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson which was broadcast on social media website X.


He, and his campaign, have claimed repeatedly that he doesn’t need to be with the other candidates because he’s the frontrunner of the Republican primary. Trump had said that he didn’t want to draw attention to the other campaigns, so he refused to take center stage during the first debate.

“Some of them are on one, zero and two. And I ask myself, “Do I stay there for two hours or an hour?” What’s the point of being harassed and abused by people who shouldn’t be running for President? “Should I be doing this?” Trump asked rhetorically during his interview with Carlson. “I felt that it would have been more appropriate to not do the debate,” explained he. But the UAW strike presented him with a unique opportunity. Not only could he counter-program, but he could do it in a manner that allowed him to be seen as a man for the people and provide a different kind of media narrative.

UAW might not welcome

Sofar, the UAW does not seem to be open to outside involvement in contract negotiations. Fain, after Biden’s direct support of his view that the negotiations were broken, criticized Biden’s statement.
This file photo shows President Biden listening to an event at the South Court Auditorium of the White House Complex, Tuesday, February 22, 2022 in Washington.

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In the photo below, President Biden is seen listening to an event at the South Court Auditorium of the White House Complex, on Tuesday, February 22, 2022 in Washington.

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Many union members refused to say who they planned to vote for, but one common thread ran through the different conversations: They want politicians that they support to have their backs. Many union members refused to reveal who they would vote for ahead of the strike. However, one common thread emerged in the conversations: they wanted the politicians that they supported to have their back.

This is probably why Trump planned this trip to Detroit. He hopes that by holding a rally in the style of Trump and meeting with autoworkers, he will show that he has the UAW’s best interests at heart. It is no accident that Trump has focused on Detroit. It’s the “home” of General Motors Ford and Stellantis North America. It is also the state that Trump missed in 2020. Biden turned Michigan back to blue after Trump narrowly won Michigan in 2016 as part of his stunning win over Hillary Clinton.

Trump is focusing his attention on the general elections and not the primaries, as he focuses on these battlegrounds states. Michigan is one of them. A high number of blue collar workers – many of whom voted for Trump in 2016, could swing the state if they appeal to the union. As Trump discovered in his two previous general elections, margins are important. In a state such as Michigan, with tens and thousands of unionized autoworkers on the job, a marginally improved performance could have impacted the outcome. But Detroit is still a deeply blue city and the UAW remains a political institution that is most aligned with Democrats. Plus, Michigan, with a Democrat as governor, isn’t a swing-state like Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. Gretchen Whitmer, and a slim Democratic majority in Michigan’s state legislature.