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Burnett: GM shows Trump's jobs promise false

CNN's Erin Burnett looks back at promises President Donald Trump made to car country in the wake of GM announcing it is closing plants amid mass layoffs.

Posted: Nov 27, 2018 8:30 PM
Updated: Nov 27, 2018 8:52 PM

On Monday, General Motors (GM) announced that it will close five plants in North America and cut thousands of jobs, marking one of the most serious economic challenges to the Trump presidency yet.

Until now, it appeared President Donald Trump had done a good job of energizing the American economy, specifically when it came to jobs. Legitimately or not, he has been praised for record low unemployment -- now at 3.7%, a 49-year low. While liberal critics argue that he is merely the beneficiary of the Obama administration's smart economic policies, it is hard to definitively say what the driver is.

What we do know is this: Had unemployment increased while Trump was in the White House, he would have been blamed. So, it seems only fair to give him some credit for low unemployment numbers now.

But that credit may not sustain him for long. While GM has said that an evolving marketplace and changing consumer demands are the chief reasons for the actions it took, the Trump administration's onerous steel tariffs are also an important contributing factor. It's more expensive to buy steel parts for cars than it was before he took office.

That Trump's economic policies are in any way causing manufacturing plants to close and jobs to be eliminated could be a stake in the heart of the Trump presidential experiment. In response, on Tuesday, the President, clearly concerned by GM's announcement, threatened to cut the car company's subsidies.

Because Trump was allegedly "good for the economy," many Republicans were willing to forgive his sometimes-boorish behavior -- both domestically and internationally. They became "yes, buts" in their defense of a president many still feel is unworthy of an office occupied by the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.

But that just became a tougher pill to swallow, as thousands of American autoworkers, many who voted for Trump in 2016 -- believing he would protect their jobs -- now face a stark reality just weeks before the holidays.

And it's a more powerful reality than the one Trump critics had been betting on prior to the GM announcement. Many Democrats, and perhaps even a few Republicans, have looked to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of the Trump campaign's potential dealings with Russia as an engine to drive Trump from office.

At this point, there is no way to know whether that will happen. Whatever Mueller presents (presuming the Trump-controlled Department of Justice tells us) will be believed by some, disbelieved by others and debated ad nauseam. Unless there is irrefutable evidence of Trump himself committing a crime, which even his some of sharpest critics admit is unlikely, the Mueller report alone will not bring Trump down.

That's not a bad thing, per se. If the President did not violate the law, he should not be removed from office -- regardless of how some may feel about him.

But it may not take a Mueller investigation to sway the public anymore. The one thing Trump had going for him was a strong economy and low unemployment, but now those jobs numbers may be in jeopardy.

GM is by no means the only US company to be hurt by Trump's tariffs. His misguided economic policies are wreaking havoc in many industries. A number of smaller companies, including the country's largest nail manufacturer, have already laid off workers due to the tariffs, and such giants as Boeing, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola and General Electric have also suffered.

While this is a tremendous loss for the many blue-collar workers in America, it may finally motivate Americans to seek new leadership in the White House -- leadership that keeps its economic promises to the people.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
Unassigned05
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Sunshine and warmer air return to round out the work week, but the warm-up is brief.
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