Trump to speak in Detroit as Republicans debate in California

Former President Donald Trump is stumping in the Detroit suburbs Wednesday night, while the Republicans trying to mount a challenge to his frontrunner status participate in the second GOP presidential debate in Simi Valley, California.

The former president is visiting a non-union plant on Wednesday, during the United Auto Workers union strike in 20 states, including Michigan. Auto parts manufacturer and supplier Drake Enterprises says Trump will speak at its facility in Clinton Charter Township, Michigan. His remarks are expected to begin around 8 p.m. ET. 

Trump is likely to continue blasting President Biden’s record on auto manufacturing and workers, one day after Mr. Biden visited the picket line. Trump announced his visit to the Detroit area before Mr. Biden did. 

The Democratic National Committee has set up anti-Trump billboards in Detroit ahead of the former president’s visit. And on Wednesday, the Biden campaign announced the release of a new ad in Michigan attacking Trump as anti-union. 

“He says he stands with auto workers, but as president, Donald Trump passed tax breaks for his rich friends while auto makers shuttered their plants, and Michigan lost manufacturing jobs,” the ad says. “Joe Biden said he’d stand up for workers, and he’s delivering.” 

The Trump campaign dismissed the president’s visit to Michigan as a “PR stunt.” 

“This is nothing more than a PR stunt from Crooked Joe Biden to distract and gaslight the American people from his disastrous Bidenomics policies that have led to so much economic misery across the country,” the Trump campaign said in a statement. “The fact is that President Trump will be the nominee and will beat Biden because he’s the only person who can supercharge the economy, secure our border, and safeguard our communities. Americans want to return to a prosperous nation and there’s only one person who can do that—President Trump.”

In particular, Trump has lambasted Mr. Biden over his support for electric vehicles. The president has taken a number of steps to drive the country away from cars powered by fossil fuels and toward EVs, proposing dramatic reductions in tailpipe emissions, approving funding for charging stations, incentivizing the conversion of auto manufacturing facilities to EV or battery plants and more.

Meanwhile, Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Gov. Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Tim Scott are teeing off a second time at the Reagan Library. So far, Trump’s decision to duck out of the debates hasn’t hurt his poll numbers. He’s still trouncing all of his Republican challengers. DeSantis said Trump owes it to voters to show up and debate. 

“I think it’s interesting that he [Donald Trump] is not willing to stand on that stage,” DeSantis said on Fox News Tuesday. “I think he owes it to all the voters to show up, defend his record, and articulate what he would do going forward and what he would might do differently. And he’s not willing to do that. I think the voters have a right to hear from all the candidates.”

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