Trump’s economic moves fail to prevent GM closures

President Donald Trump has long promised to boost the US auto industry and bring manufacturing jobs back home.

That quest hit a major pothole Monday when General Motors announced it would slash its workforce and shut production at five North American facilities in Ohio, Michigan, Maryland and Ontario, Canada.

Some 8,000 salaried employees and 6,000 hourly workers will either lose their jobs or be reassigned to other plants, and more layoffs are likely on the horizon, industry experts said.

GM’s move marks the first rounds of US plant closings since 2010, though the automaker has eliminated shifts and laid off workers at some US plants since early 2017 — including at the Lordstown, Ohio, and Hamtramck, Michigan, plants now slated to be closed.

The retrenchment follows Ford’s announcement last month of a reorganization of its global salaried workforce. The company did not say how many jobs would be eliminated or when the downsizing would take place. It is part of a broader plan to trim costs.

The moves undercut Trump’s repeated claims about the positive effects of his economic policies — including tariffs and massive corporate tax cuts — on American industry and test his ability to stand against the tide of fundamental forces reshaping the economy.

Trump openly chastised GM CEO Mary Barra on Monday, saying that he’d been “very tough” when they spoke about the closures.

“I spoke to her and I expressed the fact that I am not happy with what she did. You know, the United States saved General Motors, and for her to take that company out of Ohio is not good,” he told reporters on the South Lawn as he left for two campaign stops in Mississippi.

A White House official said Barra was still at the White House for a previously scheduled meeting with economic adviser Larry Kudlow as Trump spoke.

Throughout his 2016 campaign, the President repeatedly vowed to revive America’s manufacturing sector, particularly the auto industry. He lashed out at automakers for shuttering plants and sending jobs to Mexico, calling out