But Twitter advocacy has its limits.
The General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio closed a few weeks ago. This has put a lot of American autoworkers out of a job, and – should the plant remain shuttered – it’ll have a serious effect on economy in northeast Ohio no matter what President Trump tweets about it.
And oh, was he tweeting about it in the last 24 hours. To be fair, he also tweeted about the Mueller investigation, and did some light scaremongering about MS-13, but on Sunday the president clearly had Lordstown on his mind.
This is, after all, an issue near and dear to his heart. He was elected in states like Ohio largely on his promises to bring manufacturing jobs back, and he often got very specific about it. In Youngstown (just up the road from Lordstown) during the 2016 presidential campaign, he basically promised to save local industry:
So … it doesn’t look very good when a major employer ignores your browbeating from the bully pulpit and makes a business decision based on cold, hard economics. That’s how GM has framed this decision all along; it says the North American market isn’t calling for sedans anymore, and that made the Lordstown plant (home of the Cruze) expendable.
But it’s not like the writing wasn’t on the wall. GM has been laying off Lordstown shifts for some time now, and the local United Autoworkers president had appealed directly to President Trump to intervene more than once.
He didn’t get a response, though, until he criticized President Trump's inaction on a television show he’s known to watch, and then the president called him a "Democrat" and told him to "stop complaining."
Democrat UAW Local 1112 President David Green ought to get his act together and produce. G.M. let our Country down, but other much better car companies are coming into the U.S. in droves. I want action on Lordstown fast. Stop complaining and get the job done! 3.8% Unemployment!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 17, 2019
That’s more or less how it went down after Trump made a big show out of saving jobs at a Carrier furnace factory in Indianapolis. He inflated the number of jobs retained, got called out on it by another local union president, and insulted that guy on Twitter, too.
Lost in this very presidential sniping, though, are the plights of the autoworkers in Lordstown, who have few options now that their jobs are gone. Moving to another GM plant in another town is one, and it might be their best alternative. That local UAW president put it like this to Reuters:
"If you don’t want a job flipping burgers for minimum wage, you got to get the hell out of here."