Trump Vows to Revive Auto Manufacturing at Michigan Rally

President Trump criticized President Biden’s handling of the economy in this state, which now faces increased competition from China in its key industry.

Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Avflight Saginaw in Freeland, Mich., on May 1, 2024. Saginaw County is considered a swing county in Michigan and was the site of a September 2020 campaign visit by President Trump. (Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

FREELAND, Mich.—President Donald Trump rallied some 3,500 supporters in this working-class community, vowing to reignite the auto industry in the state that has lost thousands of jobs to Mexico and lives under the threat of further erosion of this key industry to competition from China.

Under clear blue skies with two dozen American flags standing straight in the stiff breeze, President Trump criticized the administration’s plan to covert U.S. auto production to electric vehicles, a controversial subject in a state heavily dependent on the automobile industry.

“I’m going to turn it around and bring the car industry back to Michigan,” President Trump said to boisterous cheers. “We’re going to take jobs out of China and bring jobs back to Michigan.”

Automobile-related jobs have declined by 35 percent since 1990, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Auto manufacturing jobs now comprise just 3.7 percent of jobs in the state, half the percentage of 1990.

Automobile jobs began to disappear after the passage of NAFTA in 1992, shifting many jobs to nonunion factories in the southern United States and Mexico.

Now, Chinese automaker BYD is seeking to establish a plant in Mexico to produce low-cost electric vehicles, and Chinese parts manufacturers have located there in an attempt to enter the American market.

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