November 29, 2018

Trump blamed the GM plant closing in Ohio on Sen. Sherrod Brown, who is probably the single most effective advocate for working class people in the Senate, so CNN's New Day welcomed him as a guest to discuss it.

"Lawmakers (are) slamming General Motors after the company announced plans to shut down five North American plants and cut 15,000 jobs," John Berman said.

"One plant set to close is in Ohio, and the president is blaming the Senator, Sherrod Brown, and he said Ohio was not properly represented by their Democratic senator, Sherrod Brown, because he did not get the point across. Joining me now is the senator who spoke to the president last night. What did you talk about?"

"He talked about -- well, he and I -- I first earlier in the year and we had a long conversation in June and I asked him to step in then because the second shift, already 3,000 people had been laid off and the president didn't do anything," Brown said.

"I reached him last night and he said he wanted to help and I said, 'The first thing you can help is take away the provision in the tax bill that gives a company 50% off coupon in taxes.' If you pay a 21% tax rate and if you move to Mexico, you pay a 10% tax break. He wasn't really aware of that, but he said he would help and he said he would sign on to my American Jobs, American Cars Act, which will incent car buying in the United Stats for the buying of American cars," Brown said.

"He said he wants to help. He put me in touch with his U.S. trade representative, an Ohioian, I might add. He doesn't always do what he says, but we will move forward and hope it gets through Congress."

"He said he did not know the tax plan he supported last year created -- it's complicated and I don't want to get people mired in the details, but it incentivized companies to move overseas?" Berman asked.

"Yeah, we say to American companies if you move overseas we will give you a 50% off coupon on your taxes, and when I explained how that worked, he said he wants to help. He likes the American Jobs American Cars Act," Brown said.

"You take the money you save from taking away the tax break the corporation would get, and when you buy one of 100 vehicles preapproved, and these are cars that are at least 50% made in the U.S. by American workers and you get $3500, it puts the break in the pocket of middle class buyers and working class families and it will help the Jeep plant. My wife and I drive a Jeep made by union workers in Toledo."

Berman wanted to know if Trump explained why he blamed Brown for the plant closings.

"We didn't talk about that," he said, and laughed. "The president is not one to take a lot of responsibility for his own issues, problems. What I found amusing is that there's a Republican president, Republican House of Representatives and a Republican senate and Republican governor and Republican Supreme Court and he looked all over Ohio and found a Democrat and pointed the blame to. I don't care about that. I want to fix this. He said he wants to work it and I am working with his trade representative."

Berman asked if he thought Trump blamed Brown because he's considering a run for president.

"I think he blamed me and he couldn't blame himself and I am the only statewide Democrat in Ohio, so what better guy to blame? What the heck?" he said.

"You mentioned a provision in the tax code that you think hurts Ohio, and do any other tax codes hurt GM in your state?" Berman said.

"The White House looks like a retreat for Wall Street executives, except on the days it looks like a retreat for pharmaceutical executives," Brown said. "I think plenty of his policies have been aimed at the middle class. His Supreme Court appointees, they put a thumb on the scale of justice that supports companies over workers and supports Wall Street over consumers and big insurance companies over individual health care policies, so I can see on all of that the damage the president has done."

"You were supportive, though, of his steel tariff and that's something analysts say costs GM $1 billion," Berman said.

"Well, analysts say a lot of things. GM have not said anything about the tariffs being part of the problem. My differences on the tariffs is we should work with our allies, Western Europe and Canada and countries that have similar economies to ours and focus the tariffs on those countries that have been serial cheaters, Turkey, South Korea and China. That's not exactly what he's done."

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