Former President Donald Trump announced this week that he would not be taking part in the second official Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library next week. The decision could allow for more airtime for his primary rivals, who are well behind the former president in the polls.
So far, six candidates have qualified for the stage. Despite being one of them, the former president announced instead that he would meet with striking members of the United Auto Workers (UAW). Members of the UAW are currently striking at a number of General Motors, Ford and Stellantis plants.
Trump will be visiting the striking auto workers in Detroit on Sept. 27. The plan would allow Trump a visit to a crucial swing state while also speaking to blue-collar workers who make up a large portion of his political base.
Trump has commented on the ongoing strike, which could affect the general election in Michigan next year. Trump lost the state narrowly in 2020 after carrying it in an electoral shock in 2016.
On social media, Trump blamed the current situation on the Biden administration’s transition toward electric cars. He called it a “disaster for both the United Auto Workers and the American Consumer. They will all be built in China and, they are too expensive, don’t go far enough, take too long to charge and pose various dangers under certain atmospheric conditions.”
Trump on UAW strike pic.twitter.com/zdFVsoE4Ta
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) September 15, 2023
Currently, Trump’s qualification for the debate stage was joined by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).
The Republican National Committee (RNC) required the candidates to have at least 3% in two national polls and show at least 50,000 unique campaign donors, including more than 200 donors from 20 states or U.S. territories.
Trump’s visit takes place as 13,000 workers are striking, requesting more pay from the large American automakers.