In any event, you can expect Trump to ratchet up the rhetoric going forward and you shouldn’t be surprised if you look up six months from now and discover that “America first” entails casting America’s most iconic brands as public enemy No. 1.
That’s from a lengthy piece we published on Monday documenting what the fallout is likely to be for General Motors following the company’s decision to cut thousands of jobs and shutter multiple factories in North America as part of an effort to position the automaker to compete in an environment where consumer preferences are shifting.
CEO Mary Barra also alluded to the necessity of making the changes now, while the U.S. economy (and the company itself) are still strong.
Donald Trump was not amused. In fact, he threatened Barra according to his own account as detailed by the Wall Street Journal on Monday afternoon. Here’s what he claims he said:
I told them, ‘you’re playing around with the wrong person. ‘I heard you’re closing your plant’. It’s not going to be closed for long, I hope, Mary, because if it is you have a problem.
In other words, Trump – a purported free market Republican – will now instruct corporate management teams on how to run their businesses.
Fast forward to Tuesday afternoon and sure enough, Trump took to Twitter to threaten the company further.
“Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland”, Trump tweeted, adding that “nothing [is] being closed in Mexico & China.”
He then went on to shame GM. “The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get!”, he shrieked, before delivering the death blow:
We are now looking at cutting all GM subsidies, including for electric cars. General Motors made a big China bet years ago when they built plants there (and in Mexico) – don’t think that bet is going to pay off. I am here to protect America’s Workers!
He even tagged GM’s official Twitter account for good measure.
The shares dipped as soon as Trump’s tweets crossed on high volume.
The President’s broadside came moments after Larry Kudlow attempted to navigate the choppy waters around a Republican administration dictating strategy to private enterprise. During a press conference, Kudlow appeared to suggest that GM is trying to figure out ways to ameliorate this situation.
Let’s hope they don’t take Trump’s business advice, otherwise they’ll go bankrupt another five times.
You can expect this to get far, far worse.