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 7:52 PM
Updated: Nov 27, 2018 7:52 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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 94021

Reported Deaths: 2846
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6979155
DeSoto542555
Harrison374372
Jackson339967
Madison321286
Rankin319375
Lee261067
Jones242778
Forrest239570
Washington218171
Lafayette209239
Lauderdale2007124
Bolivar179565
Oktibbeha175450
Lamar163534
Neshoba1540103
Panola144527
Sunflower142144
Lowndes140357
Warren138150
Leflore137080
Pontotoc123616
Pike121348
Monroe118965
Scott116425
Copiah116333
Coahoma112827
Holmes109258
Marshall107615
Lincoln106853
Grenada106235
Yazoo103929
Simpson101443
Union97824
Tate95537
Leake94037
Adams92136
Wayne87721
Pearl River86750
Marion84133
Prentiss81517
Covington80922
Alcorn77511
Itawamba77021
Newton75923
Tallahatchie75718
George75113
Winston72519
Tishomingo66137
Chickasaw65624
Tippah64516
Attala64125
Walthall59425
Clay58117
Hancock56421
Jasper55515
Noxubee54315
Clarke53739
Smith52414
Calhoun50612
Tunica48113
Montgomery45520
Claiborne45216
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41814
Perry40918
Quitman3755
Humphreys37315
Stone35711
Greene34617
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32811
Carroll31212
Amite31110
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2439
Benton2201
Franklin1893
Choctaw1795
Issaquena1033
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 131988

Reported Deaths: 2304
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19123337
Mobile13122290
Montgomery8688173
Madison763075
Tuscaloosa7323114
Lee575159
Shelby571950
Baldwin508749
Marshall387943
Calhoun337439
Etowah336547
Morgan321426
Houston272722
Elmore255847
DeKalb237119
St. Clair224335
Walker224380
Talladega207726
Limestone200119
Cullman186218
Dallas174926
Franklin174528
Russell17312
Autauga169124
Lauderdale165333
Colbert160926
Escambia156425
Blount156014
Jackson151611
Chilton150227
Dale133343
Covington131127
Coffee12838
Pike11619
Tallapoosa113683
Chambers113242
Clarke105517
Marion94828
Butler91138
Barbour8387
Winston71612
Marengo70119
Lowndes64927
Pickens63814
Bibb63610
Randolph62212
Hale61528
Lawrence59220
Bullock59114
Geneva5814
Monroe5768
Cherokee56916
Clay5527
Washington54913
Perry5386
Wilcox53111
Conecuh52411
Crenshaw52331
Macon47820
Henry4754
Fayette4269
Sumter41819
Lamar3532
Choctaw34512
Cleburne3326
Greene30015
Coosa1653
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