Donald Trump doesn’t have a good track record with making the right bets on companies in Ohio, a state he won by a solid eight points in 2016. In 2017, Trump told a Youngstown crowd not to sell their homes because manufacturing was making a comeback. Two years later, GM closed its nearby Lordstown Motors plant in the northeast corner of the state.
But now Trump has actively declared war on a Goodyear plant that employs more than 3,000 workers also in northeast Ohio, as state polls show a very competitive race between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Trump, upset that the factory was reportedly prohibiting MAGA hats from being worn at work, tweeted Wednesday: “Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES - They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS.” Trump’s limousine uses Goodyear tires, but presumably that will change. A Trump campaign event Thursday in support of “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” featured tires from Michelin (French), Bridgestone (Japanese), and Continental (German), but not Goodyear (American).
Goodyear employees aren’t taking the news lightly and neither are Democratic lawmakers, while most Republicans have adopted a low profile on the matter. On Thursday, more than 100 workers, union members, and retirees turned out for a rally at the United Steelworkers Local 2 offices in Akron, where the Goodyear plant is based.
The speakers were lit, including an unidentified woman who rallied attendees at the outset of the event, noting that 60,000 workers across the globe are depending on Goodyear jobs. “Really, a boycott? No way. Not here in Akron, not here in Summit County, not here northeast Ohio,” she said. “Across the nation we have a clarion call to make a difference in this election.” She added: “Each one of us has to say, it's enough. Stop. We've had it. … Each one of us has to fight now for the soul of America and it starts right here in Akron, Ohio.”
The latest jobs numbers from Akron put the unemployment rate at 11.1%.
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan also spoke. “You are going out of your way to use the greatest bully pulpit in the world to attack 3,300 families in this community,” Ryan said, directing his comments at Trump. “We have enough challenges in our communities. We have enough hurdles. We are trying to figure out how to get our arms around a global pandemic, stabilize the economy, get our kids back to school, make sure people don’t file bankruptcy. And now, in Ohio, almost 40% of our citizens are at risk of eviction. And this guy is using his bully pulpit to attack and try to kneecap Goodyear? It ain’t going to happen, Donald Trump.”
Earlier this month, Trump visited a Whirlpool Corp. plant in Clyde, Ohio, an effort to make an economic pitch to a crucial battleground state that has shed manufacturing jobs during his tenure. But hey, what’s 3,300 jobs in Akron?
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, declined to make an official comment on Trump’s latest kerfuffle, but he told a local radio host that he’s hoping Trump doesn’t send out any more tweets.
But U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio had something to say, calling it “absolutely despicable” that Trump would call for a boycott of an American-based company that employs thousands of U.S. workers.
“Keep in mind, this is a President who spent years making his own Trump-branded products overseas,” Brown tweeted. “He failed to stand up for workers in Lordstown, and now he betrays the workers in Akron.”
Republished with permission from Daily Kos.